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Trade ties with Africa continue to forge ahead

By OTIATO OPALI in Nairobi, Kenya | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2021-10-09 07:17
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Dr. Mai Osama (IPC Manager) holds vials of China's Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine in the visual inspection unit of the Holding Company for Biological Products and Vaccines "Vacsera" in Cairo, Egypt Aug 31, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

Several African countries are reporting strengthening trade ties with China despite the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the latest statistics.

In Namibia, China has emerged as the main export market for the country in August, accounting for 29.6 percent of all goods exported. According to the Namibia Statistics Agency, the new figures indicated that China has overtaken South Africa for the top spot.

Alex Shimuafeni, the statistician general of Namibia Statistics Agency, said on Wednesday that the country's exports to China mainly comprised of copper, precious stones and non-monetary gold.

"The August 2021 trade figures show that exports rose by 30 percent month-on-month and declined by 20 percent year-on-year. Copper had the largest share of all goods exported, accounting for 69 percent of total exports mainly destined for China, Spain, the Netherlands and France," Shimuafeni said.

He added that the value of the country's exports increased in August, growing by 41.5 percent to $474 million from its July level. Shimuafeni also noted that South Africa still remained Namibia's largest source of imports.

Coffee economy

The Ethiopian Coffee and Tea Authority on Wednesday said China continued to be among the top 10 importers of Ethiopian coffee in August.

Though Ethiopia planned to earn $99 million by exporting 29,819 tons of coffee and spices in August, its actual earnings reached $125 million with exporting 33,169 tons of both commodities, according to a press statement released by the authority.

In June, Ethiopia launched an initiative to attract Chinese investors to join hands with local coffee roasters to add value to their products and increase direct coffee exports to China, with efforts seem to be bearing fruit.

Statistics from China also showed great increases in trade between China and Africa despite the ongoing pandemic. Trade between China and Africa increased by 40.5 percent year-on-year in the first seven months of this year, and was valued at a record high of $139.1 billion, according to figures from China's Ministry of Commerce.

A recent report by business networking forum Economist Corporate Network showed how these strengthening trade links between China and Africa are, in part, a result of China's favorable financial incentives offered to African jurisdictions. According to the "BRI Beyond 2020" report published by ECN, 33 of the poorest jurisdictions in Africa exported 97 percent of their goods to China with no tariffs and customs duties.

The report also stated that Chinese companies have been increasingly supporting the construction of major economic zones in sub-Saharan Africa, including the Zambia-China Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone, the Eastern Industrial Zone in Ethiopia and the China-Nigeria free trade zone. Such investments have been helping to create jobs, develop local industries and facilitate trade.


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