Chinese industrial zones in Africa critical for continent's development, experts say

Updated: November 25, 2021 Source: Xinhua News Agency
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KHARTOUM, Nov. 25 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese industrial zone in Africa is a key mechanism for the continent's development and a means to enhance industrial progress and experience exchanges, Sudanese economic experts have said.

"Definitely, these Chinese industrial zones constitute one of the most important mechanisms to achieve sustainable development in Africa," Dr. Jalal Mukhtar, head of the Sudanese Entrepreneurship Association, told Xinhua in a recent interview.

A total of 25 Chinese economic and trade cooperation zones have been established in 16 African countries, according to the China-Africa Economic and Trade Relationship Annual Report (2021) released in September.

These cooperation zones help boost local industrialization in diverse fields such as resource utilization, agriculture, manufacturing, trade, and logistics.

"No doubt that these industrial zones allow African countries to exchange experiences with the Chinese side and indigenize the Chinese technology in the African continent," he added.

By the end of 2020, these cooperation zones had attracted 623 enterprises, with a total investment of 7.35 billion U.S. dollars. These enterprises have created over 46,000 jobs for the host countries, according to the report.

Mukhtar expressed hope that China would establish more industrial zones in Africa in the future and "enhance its investments with Africa in general, and with Sudan in particular."

According to the annual report, China remained Africa's largest trading partner for 12 consecutive years by the end of 2020 despite the headwinds of the COVID-19 pandemic, with two-way trade hitting 187 billion dollars.

Abdalla Noureddine, a Sudanese economic analyst, told Xinhua that "China's industrial zones contribute to creating vital opportunities to boost the social and economic march in Africa."

"These industrial zones help push the industrialization wheel in Africa and create suitable job opportunities for the local population," Noureddine added, pointing out that "these industrial zones will undoubtedly have a great role in enhancing the China-Arab cooperation."

He also stressed the importance for Sudan's transitional government to enhance the economic relations with China.

"Sudan needs the establishment of Chinese industrial zones on its lands, as it has great resources, whether in the agricultural, industrial, or mining sectors," he noted.

Recently, the Chinese investment activity in Sudan has increased in two vital sectors, namely agriculture and mining. 

Editor: Gao Jingyan