November 8, 2016 – A team of local PEP researchers in the Central African Republic (CAR) held a national policy conference in the capital Bangui to present and discuss their findings and policy recommendations, relating to the impact of Chinese investment on the CAR cotton industry, to key stakeholders from the government, industry, NGOs and academic institutions, as well as a number of journalists.
Organized in collaboration with the ASDECA (Association des Statisticiens et Démographes Centraficains) and the Université de Bangui, the event attracted nearly 100 participants, including most notably, the national minister responsible for investment attending as the representative of the President. Representatives of the Ministry of Economic Planning and of the Ministry of Defense also attended to hear and discuss the research team’s findings relating to the economic impact of Chinese investment in the CAR cotton industry.
In this study, selected for support under the PAGE initiative in 2013, the researchers developed a CGE model of the CAR economy in order to simulate the effects of Chinese investment in cottonseed production, in the transformation of the seeds into fibers, and in the textile industry. The team’s analysis indicates that investment in cottonseed and fiber production would reduce cottonseed prices without increasing demand due to a limited market for cottonseed and cotton fibers. However, investment in the textile industry would increase the market for the cotton production sectors. The findings also indicate that investment can significantly improve wellbeing in the CAR with household purchasing power and GDP increasing, while government debt decreases.
Based on these findings, the researchers recommend that Chinese investment be oriented towards redeveloping the CAR textile sector. A fully developed cotton industry in the CAR, from cottonseed to cloth, would support sustainable growth throughout the country. Find out more about the research methods, findings, and policy recommendations in the following PEP publications: Working Paper 2016-12 (full paper) and Policy Brief 131.
The conference provided the opportunity for the team to familiarize a large (four times the number expected) audience with their findings and share their recommendations with key decision makers and industry leaders. During the event, the President’s representative invited the team leader and main speaker at the conference to join a work group looking at governmental investments.
Added to the significant turnout for the conference, the attendance of several journalists reporting from the event meant that the team’s findings and recommendations were broadcast on national radio and television channels.