China's participation key to success of Africa's free trade pact: experts
China's participation will be one of the key ingredients to the success of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, some experts have said.
Speaking with Xinhua, international trade expert Francis Kofi Korankye-Sakyi said the critical role China has played in Africa's economic and political evolution made it one of the key partners in helping the continent implement the free trade area agreement successfully.
He said China's support for African countries in the past and present was born out of its long-standing relationship with Africa.
Through its long-term collaboration with the continent, China played a critical role in the development of the continent's Agenda 2063, Africa's development blueprint, which gave birth to the AfCFTA idea.
Korankye-Sakyi, also chief executive officer of African and Investment Policies Ghana, said China has made itself easier for Africa to work with through its demonstration of solidarity with Africa's needs and a pragmatic approach to financing without the unnecessary conditions applied by the West.
"China and Africa have more mutual benefits to derive from a partnership in the implementation of this agreement with wide markets of consumers. China has the market, and Africa has the market. So it will be mutually good to trade," he said.
Bright Simons, president of mPedigree, a web technology company based in Accra, projected that the existing relations give China a head-start in trade relations with the continent under the new free trade area program.
"This situation gives a strong signal to Chinese investors to consider setting up industrial clusters in Africa. With this, they can absorb intermediate goods and convert them into finished items for bigger markets across the continent," he added.