Published: 10:39, June 30, 2023 | Updated: 10:39, June 30, 2023
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Outlook positive as China-Africa trade soars
By ​Zhong Nan and Feng Zhiwei in Changsha

Visitors walk past the exhibition hall of the China-Africa Achievement Exhibition on High-Level Building of the Belt and Road Initiative during the third China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo at the Changsha International Convention and Exhibition Center in Changsha, Central China's Hunan province, June 29, 2023. (PHOTO / XINHUA)

Trade between China and Africa grew to 1.88 trillion yuan ($260 billion) in 2022 from less than 100 billion yuan in 2000, data from China's General Administration of Customs showed.

The China-Africa Trade Index, released for the first time, had a base of 100 points in 2000, which reached 990.55 points in 2022, showing a rapid and positive development trend and reaching new heights.

The index details were disclosed during the ongoing third China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo in Changsha, capital city of Hunan province, on Thursday.

Chinese Vice-President Han Zheng said China firmly supports Africa in pursuing an independent and autonomous development path.

China will further promote cooperation between China and Africa in jointly building the Belt and Road Initiative, continuously deepen strategic alignment with African countries, strengthen cooperation in industrial and supply chain development and strive to enhance connectivity, Han said at the expo's opening ceremony.

Government officials said the diverse nature of cooperation between China and Africa and a highly complementary trade structure will play a key role in supporting economic and social development of both sides in the years ahead.

They said China, as the largest developing country, and Africa, as the largest developing continent, have consistently fostered broad cooperation across various sectors. These collaborations span a wide range of areas, including poverty alleviation, infrastructure enhancement and industrialization.

The theme of this year's expo is "Common Development for a Shared Future". It features more than 40 categories, covering green infrastructure, customs and quarantine, medicine and health, agricultural and food products, industrial parks, vocational education and other topics. The expo will continue till Sunday.

As China has always supported Africa's integration process, Jiang Wei, director-general of the Department of Western Asian and African Affairs in the Ministry of Commerce, said the government will actively encourage Chinese companies to leverage their strengths and participate in Africa's infrastructure development.

China has been actively exploring various channels such as cross-border e-commerce platforms to promote the entry of high-quality African products into its market, said Jiang.

China has maintained its position as Africa's largest trading partner for 14 consecutive years, according to the GAC.

With its digital and scientific evaluation system, the index will serve as a barometer for Chinese companies conducting economic and trade cooperation with African partners, said Lyu Daliang, director-general of the GAC's statistics and analysis department.

Bilateral trade continued its strong momentum in the first five months of this year, with a total import and export value of 822.32 billion yuan, representing a year-on-year increase of 16.4 percent.

Wang Lingjun, deputy minister of the GAC, said the government will further deepen cooperation with relevant departments of African countries in inspection and quarantine, and expand the variety of agricultural and food products imported to China.

"This will contribute toward the win-win cooperation between China and Africa, and maintain the stability of the global industrial and supply chains," he said.

Girma Amente, Ethiopia's minister of agriculture, said his country welcomes more Chinese companies to invest in the country's agricultural sector and wished to export more Ethiopian agricultural products, such as coffee, tea, spices and fruit, to China.

Jinzai Food Group Co Ltd, a Changsha-headquartered snack food company with more than 2,400 employees globally, said the company is expected to import 300 million yuan worth of dried fish products from Kenya this year, after setting up an aquatic product factory with 54 million yuan of investment in the East African country in May.

Apart from creating more than 1,000 jobs for local communities in the coming years, these dried fish products will be shipped and processed in China. They will be sold in both domestic markets and overseas markets such as Russia, Japan, South Korea, Germany and the United States, said Liu Teyuan, the company's executive vice-president.

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