Business / Economy

African FTZ will leverage China-Africa ties

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-12-08 10:17

COTONOU - The forthcoming African free trade zone to be created and operational by 2017 to promote trade on the continent will further leverage economic and trade ties between China and Africa, Pascal Komlan, a Beninese economist told Xinhua Saturday.

"First, without that free trade zone at a continental scale, China has been for more than a decade the biggest trading partner of Africa. With this new framework, China-Africa trade relations will experience an exponential growth," he said.

African free trade zone is initiated by regional organizations such as COMESA, EAC and SADC and will gather about 26 African countries.

In the opinion of M. Komlan, Sino-African trade has been expanding for a decade and has reached $200 billion in 2013, from $10 billion in 2000.

The Beninese economist takes the upcoming free trade zone as regional integration leaven and a key element of African states insertion in the global economy.

Komlan thinks that the creation of the free trade should be an opportunity for each of the African countries to accelerate their economic transformation agenda.

"The aspiration of these countries is not to remain least developed countries but to build an emerging economy," he stressed.

He explained that the emergence of African countries economy can not come true without the assistance and expertise of China that consider Africa as utmost partner in its economic development strategies.

"Our continent has more than a third of the world's mineral reserves. The proportion rises to over 70 percent for some resources such as iron, manganese, platinum or bauxite," he said.

For Pascal Komlan, the presence of Chinese companies in buildings and public works in African countries is essential for the development of the continent in the sector of infrastructures construction and for to make easier African products commerce.

"Never can the lack of road infrastructure support the exploitation of the continent mineral potential nor make easier the sale of products throughout the continent," Komlan added.

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