By Qiang Wei, People’s Daily
Twenty-five containers of fishmeal weighing 485 tons recently arrived at the Yangshan Port, one of Shanghai Port’s main ports, from Gambia. It marked the first time for the fishmeal produced in the smallest country on the African continent to enter the Chinese market via a port in Shanghai.
Today, China is the largest trading partner of Gambia. The rapid development of trade and economic cooperation between the two countries is exactly a miniature of the constantly deepening China-Africa economic and trade ties.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the principles of sincerity, real results, amity and good faith, and of pursuing the greater good and shared interests in developing China’s relations with Africa.
Over the past decade, China and Africa have cooperated closely with each other and advanced a batch of major cooperation projects in an orderly manner. Both the trade volume between China and Africa and China’s investment in Africa saw steady growth, and the economic and trade cooperation between the two sides has entered a new phase of high-quality development.
The third China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo was held in Changsha, central China’s Hunan province between June 29 and July 2. It was joined by over 1,700 Chinese and African enterprises, chambers of commerce and financial institutions. Nearly 1,600 types of commodities from 29 African countries were displayed at the event, up 166 percent from those in the previous session, including coffee, wine and artifacts. The number of exhibitors jumped 70 percent to reach 1,500.
Mozambique brought its wood carvings to the expo, and Malawi displayed its featured agricultural products such as chilies and soybeans. In the exhibition booth of Madagascar, there was a “tree” inspired by the African baobab.
A total of 120 projects worth $10.3 billion were signed during the expo.
At the expo, China’s General Administration of Customs released for the first time a China-Africa trade index. Between 2000 and 2022, the import and export value between China and Africa grew more than 20-fold to hit 1.88 trillion yuan ($260 billion) from less than 100 billion yuan, with an average annual growth of 17.7 percent. China has remained the largest trading partner of Africa for 14 consecutive years, and the areas of cooperation between the two sides have been extended to digital technology, green development, aerospace, finance and other emerging sectors.
China is the fourth largest source of investment for Africa. As of the end of 2022, the stock of direct investment by Chinese businesses in Africa exceeded $47 billion. Currently, there are over 3,000 Chinese companies doing business in the continent.
Africa is the second largest overseas engineering market of China. Since 2013, the total value of the contracts signed by Chinese enterprises in Africa has surpassed $700 billion, and the contracts completed exceeded $400 billion.
China has signed civil air transport agreements with 27 African countries, built and launched communication and meteorological satellites for Algeria, Nigeria and other African countries. Under the support from the China-Africa Development Fund, Chinese drone technologies have been introduced to many countries in Africa. Drones manufactured by Chinese enterprises such as DJI and XAG are bringing hopes of harvest to farmers in Mozambique, South Africa and Ghana.
E-commerce platform Kilimall headquartered in Changsha is now operational in Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria. It has built a warehouse covering 10,000 square meters in Kenya’s capital Nairobi. Its independently built logistics network allows it to complete same-day delivery and it also has an independently developed online payment system that supports transactions in multiple currencies.
Li Fei, China’s vice-minister of commerce, said that China has inked BRI cooperation documents with 52 African countries and the African Union Commission, and established multiple special work groups focusing on promoting unimpeded trade, investment cooperation, capacity cooperation, e-commerce and other fields.
China actively supports the development of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and has set up an expert group on economic cooperation with the AfCFTA secretariat for better policy communication and experience sharing on the facilitation of China-Africa trade and investment.