Fostering opportunities in China-Africa economic and trade cooperation

7 July 2023
ITC News

The four-day China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo wrapped up on 2 July in Changsha, the capital of Hunan Province. Held in-person for the first time since the pandemic, the expo yielded major new investments while reinforcing key trade platforms.

The theme this year was 'Common Development for a Shared Future’; and focused on ‘Nine Programs’ for China-Africa cooperation.

The Expo is committed to building a new mechanism for China-Africa economic and trade cooperation; a new platform for the implementation of economic and trade initiatives; and a new window for China-Africa economic and trade cooperation at the sub-national level.

ITC brought 32 small businesses from 14 African countries to exhibit at the Expo and to receive training, through the Chinese government's foreign aid training program. This initiative was held under the Partnership for Enhancing Export Capacity of Africa to China (PEECAC) Project supported by Hunan Province and in collaboration with the Academy for International Business Officials of the Ministry of Commerce. Its goal is to promote the export of African non-resource products to China.

On the Expo’s sidelines, a high-level dialogue looked at cooperation in the agri-food value chain. Hunan Province is where China wants to open ‘green lanes’ to facilitate the import of more African farm goods.

The dialogue was organized by the International Trade Centre (ITC), the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), China National Radio and Television Administration, and the UN Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

'China-Africa agri-food value chain cooperation has emerged as a significant platform for economic collaboration between these two regions,’ Ashish Shah, Director of Country Programmes at ITC, said in his keynote speech. ‘Over the past decade, China has made substantial investments in Africa, particularly in the agriculture sector, amounting to billions of dollars. These investments have played a pivotal role in fostering economic growth, reducing poverty, and enhancing food security in Africa.’

Also speaking at the event were:

  • Zhang Zhuohua, Vice Chairman of Hunan Provincial Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC)
  • Yu Jianlong, CCPIT Vice Chairman
  • Zhang Xiangchen, Deputy Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO)
  • Song Lei, Chairman of the China-Africa Development Fund (CADFund)

Shah also participated in a forum on cooperation in health and safety standards for trade in farm goods, and in a seminar for think tanks working on China-Africa trade.

He met with the President of Zanzibar Hussein Mwinyi during a signing ceremony for an agreement between the East African country and a Chinese investor, Afritech Greencrops Group Co. The $300-million investment covers the planting, processing, and trading of agriculture products such as cassava, sorghum, and soybeans.

Shah briefed the vice president on the agreement and on the role ITC plays to foster trade and cooperation between China and African countries.