Expo to usher in a new journey for China-Africa economic and trade cooperation

June 25th, 2019

The First China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo is slated to kick off on Jun. 27 in Changsha, capital of central China’s Hunan province.

The expo is an implementation of the eight major initiatives put forward at the 2018 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Beijing Summit.

With 14 events, 53 African countries and more than 10,000 guests, the expo is committed to injecting strong impetus into the development of China-Africa economic and trade cooperation in the new era by pooling more resources and mobilizing more driving forces.

Exhibitions featuring five major areas will be launched, in a bid to help China-Africa cooperation yield pragmatic achievements in various sectors including trade, agriculture, manufacturing, service industry, financial sector, and infrastructure.

Trade cooperation between China and Africa enjoys steady progress and sound momentum of development. Statistics indicated that China has been Africa’s largest trading partner for ten consecutive years, with volume of bilateral trade reaching $204.2 billion in 2018, up 20 percent year-on-year.

China and Africa have continuously improved bilateral trade structure.

Last year, China’s export of mechanical and electrical products and high-tech products to Africa accounted for 56 percent of its total value of exports to Africa, while the country’s imports from Africa realized a year-on-year growth of 32 percent.

Import of agricultural products rose by 22 percent from the previous year, representing a significant increase in non-resource imports from Africa.

Cooperation between China and Africa in infrastructure has created many highlights. The Soubre hydroelectric power station, contracted by Sinohydro Bureau 5 Co., Ltd., is the largest of its kind in Cote d’Ivoire.

The first generator set of the hydroelectric power station has produced over 2 billion kWh of steady and clean energy since it was put into service in May 2018. The product has not only improved the proportion of hydropower in Cote d’Ivoire’s electricity system, but also enabled the country to export electricity.

In recent years, Chinese enterprises have actively participated in Africa’s infrastructure construction. With the implementation of a great number of major projects in such areas as rail transit, port, aviation, and electricity, these companies contributed significantly to boosting connectivity in Africa while bringing China’s technologies, equipment, standards, and services to Africa.

Industrial investment between China and Africa has seen in-depth integration. By the end of 2018, more than 3,700 Chinese companies had set up branches in Africa, bringing over $46 billion to the continent.

Cooperation zones have become important platforms for Chinese investment in Africa. They, while accelerating the formation of an industrial chain of the investment projects, have achieved industrial agglomeration effect.

The establishment of industries including manufacturing equipment, textile industry, and household appliances has helped the local community boost industrialization, and build supporting facilities, and improved the capability to increase foreign exchange earnings through export.

China-Africa cooperation is in full swing in multiple new areas. Chinese financial institutions have established over 10 branches in Africa, where eight countries including South Africa have included Chinese currency renminbi in their foreign exchange reserves.

China has launched renminbi clearing services with Zambia and concluded currency swap agreements with four African countries including Morocco. In addition, bilateral cooperation in such new forms of business as cross-border e-commerce enjoys rapid development.

Last November, many people from Burkina Faso came to learn engineering machinery and maintenance techniques in an industrial park of China’s Zoomlion Heavy Industry Science & Technology Co. Ltd. in Changsha.

“We took them to visit our workshops to show them how to operate equipment and explain all our key techniques to them,” said Xiong Chuanyu, a staff member of Zoomlion Heavy Industry Science & Technology Co. Ltd., who had worked in Africa for nearly 10 years.

Island country Madagascar in east Africa has the largest planting area and highest output of hybrid rice in Africa. The average yield per unit area of hybrid rice there is more than twice that of local varieties.

The tremendous change owes greatly to the constant efforts of experts at Hunan Academy of Agricultural Sciences and an agriculture company in Hunan, which have popularized hybrid rice in Africa for years.

Thanks to Chinese hybrid rice, people of Madagascar have basically shaken off hunger, said a Madagascan official, expressing heartfelt praise for Chinese hybrid rice.

Chinese enterprises have made it possible for people in Kigali to watch television programs, said a citizen in Kigali, capital of Rwanda, adding that when they have a window into the world, they have the power to keep working hard for their dreams.

The project to bring TV programs to Kigali is undertaken by China’s pay TV company StarTimes, which aims to enable people from over 10,000 villages of 25 African countries to watch satellite TV programs.

Cameroon, whose hydropower resources rank third in Africa, has a hydropower utilization rate of less than 5 percent and electricity access rate of less than 30 percent due to various causes. Having sufficient electric energy has always been a dream of Cameroonians.

PowerChina Zhongnan Engineering Corporation Limited has planned to build four hydropower stations for Cameroon, with the total installed capacity approaching 2,000 MW. Upon completion, the project will effectively improve the situation in Cameroon and light up the life of more local people.

Africa has benefited from China’s development, expressed Miriam Altman, Commissioner on the National Planning Commission in the Office of the South African Presidency, saying that Chinese investment has enhanced Africa’s capacity for self-development, and helped Africa better integrate itself into global value chains.

At present, both China and Africa hope to intensify alignment of development strategies, tap deeper into bilateral cooperation, stimulate vitality of development, and cultivate new growth points.

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