Now, it only takes 14 hours for the fresh flowers from Kenya to reach the Chinese city of Changsha, and young Africans can get various Chinese products with just a few clicks on keyboards at home.
At the opening ceremony of the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) held in September 2018, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed that China launch eight major initiatives in close collaboration with the African countries, including a decision to open an African Economic and Trade Expo in China.
To fully implement this decision, the first China-Africa Economic and Trade Exhibition (CAETE) was held in 2019 in Changsha, the capital of China’s Hunan Province (center), which turned out to be a great success. . And the second CAETE, which opened on Sunday in the same Chinese city and attracted nearly 900 companies from 40 African countries and China, will not only show the world how Xi’s proposal has facilitated bilateral trade, but also liberate. a new potential for cooperation between the two. sides.
BETTER LIFE FOR CHINESE, AFRICANS
For Dieudonné Twahirwa, managing director of Goshora Farm PLC, a Rwandan supplier of agro-products to local and international markets, this year is “a lucky year” because his company has been able to access China, “a good and stable market”.
Twahirwa said his company sells dried chili peppers to India and Europe, but these markets are “volatile”.
“Now, I can confidently say that China is a reliable market,” he said, adding that cooperation with China will increase farmers’ sales and improve their welfare.
On August 4, Changsha customs officials said China had imported its first dried peppers from Africa. Twahirwa’s company products were one of them.
“We have decided to increase imports, especially of non-resource products, from Africa,” Xi said at the opening ceremony of the FOCAC Beijing summit in 2018.
A year later, during the first CAETE, companies from Hunan province and Rwanda signed a contract for the purchase of dried peppers. Since then, Rwanda has become the first African country to enter the Chinese market with its local dried chili peppers.
Another resourceless African product that is popular with Chinese consumers is coffee. For example, located in the China-Africa Economic and Trade Incubation Zone of Gaoqiao Big Market in Changsha, African Coffee Street has brought together more than 20 leading Chinese enterprises in this field.
In the eyes of Jing Jianhua, owner of Own Master, a café that will soon open with coffee beans all from Africa, Chinese consumers will be able to enjoy pure African coffee at a more affordable price.
African products are becoming an indispensable part of Chinese life, Jing said.
China had remained Africa’s largest trading partner for 12 consecutive years at the end of 2020, despite headwinds from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to an official report on Saturday.
NEW CROSS-BORDER E-COMMERCE PLATFORM
In less than 30 minutes, butter from Mali, white peppercorns from Cameroon, peanuts from Senegal and other African products were all gutted by Chinese consumers during a live broadcast in Changsha.
Meanwhile, Chinese products are also sought after by African traders in live feeds. “In addition to star products such as wigs or clothing exported to Africa, luggage and small agricultural machinery also have good markets and complete industrial chains on the African continent,” said Wu Di, director of the Center. of Gaoqiao Grand foreign trade services. Marlet.
During FOCAC in 2018, Xi proposed that China “put in place relevant mechanisms to promote e-commerce cooperation with Africa.” Over the years, through active implementation of Xi’s proposal, which has been an important part of the Eight Major Initiatives, more and more opportunities have arisen in cross-border e-commerce between China and Africa.
For example, Chinese and African companies have collaborated to encourage the export of African specialties to China through cross-border e-commerce platforms during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Impacted by the pandemic, African consumers are more likely to shift their purchases from physical stores to the internet, giving a strong boost to the development of e-commerce, said Lu Xiaoyong, marketing director of Kilimall, a leading e-commerce platform in the world. ‘East Africa. founded in Kenya in 2014.
COOPERATION CHANNEL THROUGH INTERCONNECTIVITY
In a congratulatory letter sent to the first CAETE, Xi said he hoped the two sides would strengthen coordination to better implement the eight major initiatives presented at the FOCAC Beijing summit, actively explore new avenues of cooperation, would open new growth points for collaboration and promote China-Africa economic and trade cooperation to a new level.
In light of Xi’s remarks in the letter, Hunan sought to explore new mechanisms for economic and trade cooperation with Africa. A new pilot free trade zone (FTA) in the province was launched in September 2020, with a focus on building a world-class advanced manufacturing hub, an international investment corridor and trade connecting the economic belt of the Yangtze River and Guangdong-Hong Kong. Macao Greater Bay Area, and a leading area for deep economic and trade cooperation between China and Africa.
Recently, the first five containers of red grapefruits from South Africa arrived at Yangshan Port in Shanghai, becoming the first trial barter order in the pilot free zone of Hunan.
In addition, the expansion of passenger and freight transport routes has vigorously facilitated economic and trade exchanges between China and Africa.
On September 15, the Zhuzhou industrial center in central China launched a combined sea-rail transport service to Africa. The first shipment of goods is expected to arrive at the port of Mombasa in Kenya on October 15.
Compared to traditional river-sea transport, the sea-rail transport service can shorten the logistics time to East Africa by 10 days and that to West Africa by nine days, thus saving 3% the cost of transport.
The sea-rail transport service is expected to cover 11 African seaports and 20 roads and railways in inland Africa in the first phase, said Guo Ning, a customs official from Hunan.