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5,000 exhibitors conclude 2017 China-Arab States Expo

By Kimeng Hilton Ndukong  (People's Daily Online)    13:41, September 11, 2017

China-Arab trade reached 171.14 billion US dollars in 2016

The 2017 China-Arab States Expo ended on September 9 in Yinchuan, capital of China’s Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, with officials sounding off about prospects of enhanced economic cooperation between the two sides. Representatives from 47 Middle East and African nations, including executives from 1,080 companies and about 5,000 exhibitors covering 31 industries, took part in the trade fair from September 6-9.

The expo included 12 exhibitions, a business conference on the sidelines, and discussions on cooperation in areas such as high-speed railways, technology transfer and innovation, banking, agriculture, tourism, capacity building, logistics and tourism. In his message read at the opening on September 6, Chinese President Xi Jinping said China and Arab nations were important partners in promoting the Belt and Road Initiative, adding that the trade fair echoes the philosophy of international cooperation.

Guinean President and African Union Chair, Prof. Alpha Condé, represented the continent at the four-day event. He described the exposition as the outcome of close and intensive interaction and the opening of new avenues for more cooperation. The Guinean leader said though China’s development miracles have already benefitted Africa, Chinese authorities should always include the continent in their development plans.

Alpha Condé described the Chinese-driven Belt and Road Initiative as a good link, saying Africa with its young energetic population made up mostly of people less than 30 years-old made it a good cooperation partner. While calling for the new world economic order to be environmentally-friendly, the African Union Chair attributed Africa’s recent technological progress to the assistance offered by China.

“The China-Arab States Expo is the most important and largest event for promoting trade, economic and investment relations between Arab countries and China,” Sudanese-born Kamal Hassan Ali, Arab League assistant secretary general for economic affairs, told Chinese media before the trade fair. ‘The building of infrastructure projects will create more jobs for young people and increase investments in a number of pivotal projects in the Arab world, significantly reduce the turmoil in the region and achieve the desired economic and social development,” he said.

Egypt, which was Guest of Honour at the expo, was represented by the Minister of Trade and Industry, Tarek Qabil. Qabil spoke of the many investment opportunities presented by Egypt as one of the leading economies in Africa. Mauritania’s delegation was led by Mohamed Yahya Ould El Kherchi, Deputy Speaker of Parliament. He disclosed that the volume of trade between Mauritania and China in 2016 reached 6.1 billion US dollars, concerning areas such as fisheries and capital development; in addition to operations of the free trade zone.

Some 321 deals in science and technology, finance, energy, agriculture, health, tourism, culture and education were signed during previous events since 2013, with contracts worth tens of billions of US dollars. China-Arab trade reached 171.14 billion US dollars in 2016, with new contracts worth 40.37 billion US dollars signed between the two sides last year. This was an increase of 40.8 percent compared to 2015. Meanwhile, China’s non-financial direct investments in Arab countries rose 74.9 percent in 2016.

*Kimeng Hilton Ndukong, a contributor to People’s Daily Online, is Sub-Editor for World News with Cameroon Tribune bilingual daily newspaper in Cameroon. He is currently a 2017 China-Africa Press Centre, CAPC fellow. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Wu Chengliang, Bianji)

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