CHINA-AFRICA ECONOMIC EXPO: Mwinyi sees growth prospect

ZANZIBAR President, Dr Hussein Mwinyi has said China remains an important partner in the development of Africa.

Dr Mwinyi, who is attending the third China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo that opened on Thursday in Changsha, capital of central China’s Hunan Province, was impressed with data indicating strong trade growth between China and African countries.

“Africa still has enough land, labour force and opportunities for business. We invite Chinese companies to invest in the African continent,” said Dr Mwinyi, adding that the investment environment has also been improved in many African countries.

Dr Mwinyi praised the six decades of cooperation between China and Tanzania, expressing his hope to further improve the cooperation, and also with many African countries.

“We have witnessed growing trade with Africa in the past two years,” he said.

Dr Mwinyi expressed his happiness with the good turn-up of potential big investors in China at the Expo, saying it was an opportunity for Africa to woo investors from the Asian country to explore opportunities in the continent.

The China-Africa Trade Index, based on trade-indicator data between China and African countries, was released for the first time at the opening of the third China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo on Thursday.

The index shows strong growth in trade over the past two decades and indicates that trade between China and Africa has become increasingly close, with trade potential continuing to grow, said Lyu Daliang, Director of China Statistics and Analysis Department of the Administration.

He explained that the general index of data in the year 2000 is set as the benchmark, starting from 100 points. It reached a record high of 990.55 points in 2022, when China sustained its role as Africa’s largest trading partner for 14 consecutive years.

In the first five months of 2023, China’s total import and export volume with Africa reached 822.32 billion yuan (113.5 billion US dollars), up 16.4 per cent year on year, according to the administration’s data.

Lyu said statistics show that China’s trade with Africa rose from less than 100 billion yuan in 2000 to 1.88 trillion yuan in 2022, posting a cumulative increase of more than 20 times, with an average annual growth rate of 17.7 per cent.

Lyu said the index serves as a “barometer” of bilateral trade. In addition to the overall index, there are five first-level indicators such as trade scale, closeness, structure, potential and main-body vitality.

The release of the trade index is among the main activities at the expo. Themed “Common Development for a Shared Future,” the four-day event will see representatives from 53 African countries and multiple international organisations in attendance.

A total of 1,500 exhibitors have signed up for the expo, up 70 per cent from the previous expo.

On his part, Malawi President Mr Lazarus Chakwera said at the conference that China-Africa relationship is here to stay and any attempt to weaken it shouldn’t be allowed.

“China remains an important partner in the development of Africa. We have been learning a lot from China, Africans should use China-Africa friendship to produce more for export to China.

But it is also high time for China to consider starting forgiving its loans to Africa, a situation that will help the African continent continue to make progress,” he said.


Meanwhile, on a separate occasion, President Hussein Ali Mwinyi thanked the Chinese government for the continued medical aid to Tanzania. He said that in the past six decades, more than 2,000 medical doctors have travelled to Tanzania to provide medical services.

“People in Tanzania mainland and Zanzibar appreciate work done by the medical team from China in the past six decades, providing medical care, including screening, treatment and supply of equipment and training,” Dr Mwinyi said at a special meeting with health experts in China.

Dr Mwinyi prayed for continued cooperation in the health sector, asking for more training for health staff in Tanzania. He also used the occasion to ask China to invest in pharmaceuticals, along with considering helping Africa fight non-communicable diseases, the current health threat to the development of many countries.

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