Officials announced on Tuesday that the upcoming third China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo, scheduled to take place from June 29 to July 2 in Changsha, China, will further enhance high-quality economic and trade cooperation between the two sides. China, being Africa’s largest trading partner and fourth-largest source of investment, has expanded its collaboration with Africa beyond trade and construction to areas like digital infrastructure, green development, aviation, and space exploration.
This biennial expo, held in Hunan Province, serves as a significant economic and trade platform under the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation framework. Over 1,500 centrally-administered state-owned enterprises, business associations, financial institutions, and representatives from 53 African countries and eight international organizations have applied to participate in the event.
According to Shen Yumou, the head of the Hunan Provincial Department of Commerce, this year’s expo is expected to have a greater impact compared to previous editions due to its wider range of topics. For the first time, forums and seminars will focus on traditional Chinese medicine cooperation, women’s dialogues, and professional education.
The expo will witness bustling activity, with a 55% increase in the number of exhibitors compared to the previous event, totaling 1,350. The main venue will be open to the public on July 1 and 2, while secondary locations will offer a wide range of African products for sale. The main venue, spanning 100,000 square meters, will host more exhibits than before. Additionally, two new exhibitions will showcase achievements in China-Africa high-quality Belt and Road cooperation and women’s innovations and entrepreneurship.
The expo has already facilitated discussions on potential deals and cooperation projects, reaching a value of $10.7 billion USD, said Shen. Jiang Wei from the Ministry of Commerce emphasized that the expo will promote consensus and confidence in development for both sides, with local governments and enterprises playing a vital role in driving cooperation.
During the expo, various measures will be introduced to guide the implementation of the nine programs on China-Africa cooperation proposed at the Eighth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in November 2021. These programs have already yielded positive results. For instance, under the trade promotion program, 21 African countries have received zero-tariff treatment for 98% of their exports to China.
China-Africa bilateral trade in 2022 amounted to $282 billion USD, with African exports to China growing by 11.2% year-on-year to $164.5 billion USD and imports increasing by 11% to $117.5 billion USD. In the first four months of 2023, China’s new direct investment in Africa reached $1.38 billion USD, marking a 24% year-on-year increase.