China-Africa trade hits $172.83 billion from Jan to Oct 2013
China-Africa trade and investment have witnessed an increase of 5.5% from January to October 2013, on the back of strong economic ties between the two countries (Image: globaltimes.cn).
China and Africa trade totalled $172.83 billion from January to October 2013, representing an increase of 5.5 per cent over the corresponding period in 2012, despite continuing sluggishness in the global economy.
As Africa is now a destination of focus for Chinese companies, Chen Hao, the deputy director of the Coordination Division of the Department of West Asian and African Affairs of the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, expects that the figure for the year ended 2013 might well be in excess of $200 billion.
Three initiatives – expanding investment and financing cooperation, enhancing development assistance to African, and supporting Africa’s integration efforts- proposed by China for the fifth Ministerial Conference of FOCAC, the most important multilateral cooperation mechanism between the two countries, have been implemented in 2013.
Chinese President Xi Jinping showed the importance of Africa in the eyes of the Asian superpower by choosing the emerging continent for his maiden foreign trip after assuming Presidency in March 2013.
“China will strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation with African countries in fields such as agriculture and manufacturing, and help African countries translate their resource advantages into development advantages to achieve internally-driven and sustainable development,” said the Chinese President.
According to Chen Hao, the Chinese government dedicated $20 billion towards infrastructure, agriculture, manufacturing and SME development.
Additional help was extended to increase development assistance to Africa where various programmes have been implemented: the construction of agriculture demonstration centers, Brightness Action campaigns and African talent development plan.
And, finally, to support Africa in its integration efforts, both countries have maintained close cooperation in economic ties. They have also conducted productive and in-depth discussions to help Africa in trans-border and trans-regional infrastructure construction and in facilitating regional trade.
No surprise then that Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan stated that Nigeria now considers China as its largest trading partner with two-way trade exceeding $13 billion.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, wanted to work with China to fast track development in the two countries, such that their governments, businesses and population can have more opportunities for growth. Towards this end, he headed a big delegation of more than 100 people – including nearly ten government ministers covering foreign affairs, international trade and finance, leaders of key development departments such as the investment authority, and representatives of leading financial and business companies – to China in August 2013.
Mechanical and electrical products in addition to high-tech products have reached nearly half of China’s exports to Africa. The Chinese market welcomed steel and copper products from Africa by allowing a zero-tariff treatment to 95 per cent of the categories of exported products from Ethiopia, Benin and Burundi which gave a strong boost to African exports to China.
Currently, the number of Chinese companies setting up their business in Africa is estimated to be more than 2,000. From January to October 2013, Chen estimates that China’s non-financial direct investment to Africa totalled $2.54 billion, up 71.6% compared to the corresponding period of 2012.