The Expo co-organized by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce and the Hunan Provincial Government, is the only platform for economic and trade cooperation under the framework of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). It is worth noting that this Expo is part of the commitment made by Chinese President Xi Jinping at the 2018 FOCAC held in Beijing.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Yang Jiechi, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee, said that the Expo has become a new platform for implementing the economic and trade measures put forward by FOCAC and for promoting economic and trade cooperation with Africa at the local level.
Senegalese President Macky Sall who also addressed the ceremony via video link, said that with the support of the expo, small- and medium-sized enterprises have established partnerships with Chinese companies and entered the Chinese market.
This year’s expo attracted more than 900 enterprises from about 40 African countries, featuring a variety of products such as red wine, coffee, cocoa, and nuts. Goods worth 85 million yuan ($13.1 million) for export and around 100 kinds of African products for import are now available on Kilimall and KiliSelect, two e-commerce platforms. Moreover, about 386 projects have been initiated via the Expo’s platform.
About 176 projects in trade, investment, project contracting and strategic cooperation worth a combined value of $15.93 billion are expected to be signed during the Expo.
Despite the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the second China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo has been successfully organized, bringing the optimism for continued economic development to ever-greater heights among both sides.
It is clear that since the inception of the China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo all sides seem to have benefited, while economic statistics show great successes. According to recent figures from China’s General Administration of Customs, trade between China and Africa increased by 27 percent on a yearly basis to reach $52.1 billion in the first quarter of 2021.
When speaking to a press conference in Beijing recently, China’s Vice Minister of Commerce Qian Keming said that African products have enjoyed increasing recognition in the Chinese market, with imports from Africa increasing by 46.3 percent to top $59.3 billion during the January-July period this year. In addition, imports of agricultural products, such as rubber, cotton and coffee, doubled over the same period from last year.
China’s industry-wide foreign direct investments in Africa reached $2.07 billion in the first seven months, exceeding pre-COVID-19 levels in 2019. And the contract value of newly signed projects by Chinese enterprises in Africa increased by 8.2 percent during the January-July period.
China has continued to be a major trading partner with Africa for the past 12 consecutive years. In recent years, Africa has seen great improvements in its business environment, such that by 2020, direct investment from China going to the African continent exceeded $ 47.4 billion across more than 50 countries.