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Asia still smitten by Africa, Barclays says

LONDON -- While it has been a bruising year for many African economies, investors retain a high level of interest in the continent, said Chris van Niekerk, managing director of corporate banking at Barclays Africa. From 2013 to 2014, Africa's share of global foreign direct investment grew rapidly, from 8% to 17%. "Despite the fact there are some headwinds in Africa," he said, "it's noteworthy that amongst our multinational clients interest in Africa is genuinely undiminished."

     Asian countries have a growing presence on the continent. China is involved in a range of headline-grabbing projects, such as Kenya's extension of the Mombasa-Nairobi railway, announced in September. However, Japan remains the continent's largest project finance investor, van Niekerk told Japanese clients at an event at the bank's London headquarters.

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