China-Africa cooperation eyes further progress in upcoming expo
An exhibitor presents avocado products to a visitor at the second International Africa Avocado Congress (Avocado Africa 2023) in Nairobi, Kenya, May 31, 2023. (Xinhua/Dong Jianghui)
BEIJING, June 14 (Xinhua) -- The third China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo scheduled from June 29 to July 2 in the central Chinese city of Changsha will help advance high-quality economic and trade cooperation between the two sides, building on current achievements, officials said Tuesday.
China is Africa's largest trading partner and its fourth-biggest source of investment, Vice Minister of Commerce Li Fei told a press conference. Over the years, cooperation between the two sides has extended from trade and construction to emerging areas like digital infrastructure, green development, aviation, and space exploration, Li said.
The expo, held every other year in Hunan Province, is a significant economic and trade platform under the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation framework. So far, 53 African countries, eight international organizations, and over 1,500 centrally-administered state-owned enterprises, business associations, and financial institutions have applied to attend the event.
This year's event is expected to be more influential than previous ones as it will cover more topics, said Shen Yumou, head of the Hunan Provincial Department of Commerce.
For the first time in the expo's history, forums and seminars will be held on traditional Chinese medicine cooperation, women's dialogues, and professional education.
The event will be bustling with participants, said Shen. The number of exhibitors alone is up by 55 percent from the last expo to 1,350. The main venue will open its doors to the public from July 1 to 2, while a myriad of African products will be available for sale at secondary locations.
Shen noted that the 100,000-square-meter main venue would house more exhibits than previous events. Also debuting this year are two achievements exhibitions, one for China-Africa high-quality Belt and Road cooperation and the other for women's innovations and entrepreneurship from both sides.
Potential deals and other cooperation projects under discussion at the expo reached 10.7 billion U.S. dollars so far, Shen added.
The expo will help foster consensus and enhance confidence for development on both sides, said Jiang Wei, an official with the Ministry of Commerce. It will give play to local governments and enterprises in promoting cooperation.
A series of measures will also be unveiled at the expo to guide future moves on implementing the nine programs on China-Africa cooperation proposed at the Eighth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in November 2021, said Jiang.
The nine programs have each yielded fruitful results, said Li. Under the trade promotion program, for example, 21 African countries have each received zero-tariff treatment for 98 percent of their exports to China.
Under the capacity building program, 14 Chinese vocational colleges have established partnerships with 13 African counterparts, while Chinese projects in Africa created 300,000 jobs for the local people in 2022, according to Li.
Official data showed that bilateral trade between China and Africa stood at 282 billion U.S. dollars in 2022, with export to Africa growing 11.2 percent year on year to 164.5 billion dollars and import up by 11 percent to 117.5 billion dollars. In the first four months, China's new direct investment in Africa reached 1.38 billion dollars, up 24 percent year on year.