BEIJING: On Aug 23, a ceremony in Beijing commemorating the arrival of the first batch of avocados from Kenya also served as a launchpad to welcome more African produce into the vast Chinese market. This follows the arrival of some 20 tonnes of fresh Hass avocados from smallholder Kenyan farmers in Shanghai on Aug 2.
That same day, the China-Africa Business Council released a report on China’s investments in African countries and said the two sides have made great strides in all-around, multilevel and wide-ranging cooperation over the past 22 years.
The report showed that Chinese companies are committed to investing in Africa’s supply chain.
Humphrey Moshi, director of the Centre for Chinese Studies at the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, said China’s rise as one of Africa’s leading trade partners is owed to the fact that China’s investment portfolio in Africa is very diversified, covering a broad range of sectors.
“In assessing the feasibility of China’s trade trajectory in Africa, we note that China does not apply the narrow Western assessment criterion of economic viability alone, but a much broader and more comprehensive criterion of socio-economic development,” Moshi said.
He added that the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (Focac) has been instrumental in driving the rise of trade between Africa and China and is a continuation of China-Africa friendship, which provides a guarantee for high-level China-Africa relations in the new century.
Since 2000, China-Africa cooperation has yielded more fruitful results under the Focac, he said. Based on recently released data by China’s customs agency, the value of trade between Africa and China rose by 35% from 2020 to US$254bil (RM1.1 trillion) last year, Moshi said.
He also said that despite difficulties like the Covid-19 pandemic which slowed down trade globally, China and Africa have made encouraging progress in discussing practical measures to tackle the pandemic and restore economic development under the framework of the Focac.
“This once again shows that China-Africa cooperation has been moving in the right direction and has made solid efforts to help Africa achieve sustainable development. In due course, this mutually beneficial approach to trade by China is set to make it Africa’s largest trading partner,” Moshi said.
A recently released report, titled A new horizon for Africa-China relations, by global research firm Economic Intelligence Unit said China is on track to overtake the European Union as Africa’s biggest trade partner by 2030.
“In recent years, the West’s already fragile reputation in Africa has worsened. The only Western institution still properly active seems to be The International Monetary Fund, while China on the other hand has, broadly speaking, kept up its commercial operations,” the report said. — China Daily/ANN