China-Africa Cooperation Reaps Results

Trade between China and Africa has been steadily growing in what is seen as a “win-win” situation in many aspects. With an annual growth rate of 33.5 percent since the year 2000, analysts believe that the strengthening of economic and trade ties between the two parties will continue. In 2008, trade cleared US$106.8 billion, reaching the target of US$100 billion for 2010, that was set at the 2006 Beijing summit of China-Africa Cooperation, a full two years ahead of schedule.

Some of the measures taken by China to assist African trade include offering zero-tariff exports from selected African countries that are considered to be least-developed, as well as organizing exhibitions of African products with a view to creating a demand and boosting exports from Africa to China. So far China’s favorable tariff policy to selected countries, which covers 500 product categories, has resulted in a total of US$890 million dollars worth of product being exported from Africa. From China’s export perspective, African countries have huge market potential waiting to be tapped. The export of Chinese manufactured goods, such as textiles, electronic and electrical devices have been growing steadily.

The African continent is rich in natural resources such as various metals, minerals and oil, but often lacks the financial means of making use of these resources. This is where Chinese investment in Africa is proving to be mutually beneficial. Statistics reveal that by the end of 2008, China had directly invested in excess of US$7.8 billion in Africa. In the first nine months of 2009 the investments figure was over US$875 million, being an increase of 77.5 percent compared to the same year-on-year period. Chinese investment in Africa has benefited local communities as infrastructure in their locality was strengthened. Additionally, there are currently close to 900 Chinese-initiated projects running in African countries, covering diverse sectors such as farming, fishing, animal husbandry, light industries, radio communication, textile industries, transportation, water conservation, machinery, electricity supply and construction. The fourth meeting for the China-Africa Cooperation Forum will take place on 8-9 November 2009 in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, with representatives from both sides reviewing past achievements with a view to implementing further mutually beneficial trade, economic and social aid ties.