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China, Africa enjoy strong cooperation momentum in trade and investment facilitation

By  Li Yingqi, Huang Peizhao, Lv Qiang, Wan Yu (People's Daily)    10:19, August 31, 2018

China and Africa have yielded remarkable achievements from their strong efforts to facilitate bilateral trade and investment over the past three years, which has given a strong boost to bilateral trade and economic exchanges, driven up the economy of Africa and brought tangible benefits to the people on the continent.

Statistics indicated that two-way trade between China and Africa stood at around $170 billion in 2017, up 14.1 percent from the previous year. The increase was 2.7 percentage points higher than China’s overall foreign trade growth of the corresponding period.

In addition, China has been Africa’s largest trading partner for 9 consecutive years. Its import from Africa grew by 32.8 percent from the previous year to $75.26 billion in 2017, and Chinese investment in Africa totaled over $100 billion, growing hundredfold from 2000.

At the Port Elizabeth, South Africa, the automobile factory invested by China’s First Automotive Works (FAW) is producing thousands of heavy duty trucks each year, supporting the rainbow nation’s increasingly growing demand for transportation.

In Nigeria, Chinese enterprises have constructed Africa’s first railway designed to Chinese specifications-the Abuja-Kaduna Rail Line, offering the local community with safe, speedy and comfortable traveling experience.

In Malawi, Chinese capital has been invested in more than 60 small- and medium-sized light industrial and daily necessities enterprises, creating over 20,000 jobs for local community and offering more quality products at low prices.

The garment factories invested by Chinese private companies in Rwanda also offer local workers a chance to learn clothing manufacture.

These facts well explain how Chinese investments are making development dividend for Africa.

Management consulting firm McKinsey & Company said in a 2017 survey that Chinese enterprises propelled Africa’s economic growth by bringing investment, management experiences and vitality for innovation to the continent.

A total of 89 percent of the employees from the 1,000 interviewed Chinese enterprises were African. Over the past three years, about 48 percent of the Chinese enterprises have introduced new products or services to Africa, and 36 percent of them introduced new technologies.

About 50 African government officials interviewed by the survey recognized China’s contribution to the local community, saying their Chinese cooperation partners have completed infrastructure projects at low cost and high efficiency.

African media believe that China and Africa, as developing country and region respectively, enjoy huge growth potential in bilateral trade.

China’s investment in and trade with Africa have not only boosted local industries and manufacturing, but also expanded employment and promoted technology transfer, said African media, adding that China’s investment aims at helping African countries realize independent development.

To enhance Africa’s trade and investment facilitation, China has introduced e-commerce as an important approach. It encourages Chinese companies to carry out “Internet Plus” cooperation with African partners in accordance with market rules, so as to have Africa share the benefits from information technology and big data economy.

In early June this year, the first China-Africa cross-border e-commerce platform CA-B2B.COM was officially launched in Beijing, with an aim to promote China-Africa trade, and even global trade, investment and cooperation.

At present, more and more African products are entering Chinese market through online channels, such as Ethiopian coffee, Kenyan black tea and South African macadamia nuts.

Similarly, cost-efficient Chinese commodities are also delivered to African households through e-commerce. For instance, China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba has seen growths of 188 percent, 389.9 percent and 62 percent in the recent three fiscal years in its African business.

With 330 million internet users, about 20 percent of whom have used online shopping services, Africa’s e-commerce market is soaring with huge potential.

The development of e-commerce is also broadening the application of mobile payment in Africa. In sub-Saharan Africa, the number of mobile payment users totaled 338 million. Chinese payment services such as Alipay and WeChat Pay have been available in many regions.

China-Africa cooperation on trade and investment facilitation enjoys splendid prospects. The Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram pointed out in its article that China-Africa cooperation on trade and investment facilitation has achieved fruitful results over the past few years, especially since the implementation of the ten major China-Africa cooperation plans.

The upcoming Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation is expected to inject new energy into the China-Africa economic and trade cooperation, and lift bilateral practical and friendly relations onto a new level. 

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

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