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China has emerged as Africa's main trade partner

         Date: 2012-08-10

           Tag: Africa, China-Africa trade

Summary: China is not relenting on its investment efforts in Africa, as it seeks more opportunities to develop the continent.

China is not relenting on its investment efforts in Africa, as it seeks more opportunities to develop the continent.

Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Liu Guanyuan said his country is looking to strengthen relations with Africa especially as it eyes the continent to relocate its manufacturing industry.

“Since China has gone through the development stage which Africa is currently in, the capital, experience and technologies China has gained over the past years will dovetail the needs of Africa’s development,” he said.

Over the years, China has emerged as Africa’s main trade partner, with total direct investment in the continent reaching $15.3 billion as of April this year.

According to the Economic Survey 2011, Kenya’s imports from China quadrupled to Sh120.6 billion last year from Sh29.7 billion in 2006.

Speaking during a China-Africa relations seminar on Thursday, the Chinese Ambassador acknowledged that economic and trade frictions between China and Africa had increased in recent years, spurred primarily by growing trade deficits between the two partners.

“African friends believe that the Chinese companies in Africa have grabbed business opportunities away from the local companies. They complain about the sub-standard quality of some Chinese cheap products,” he explained.

Counterfeits often originating from China are costing Kenyan businesses more than half a billion dollars annually in losses.

The influx of low-grade Chinese products entering Africa is a worrying trend, though most consumers in the continent have welcomed the lower prices.

Experts have expressed concern over a possible spill-over of pollution into Africa from China’s mushrooming economic growth.

“There’s going to be spill-over as China shifts its manufacturing structure into Africa. The sentiment is that Africa is on a growth, consumption path but that has implications on the environment.

The Chinese will essentially export their pollution into Africa,” said Dr Lloyd Amoah from Ashesi University in Ghana.

Amoah, who attended the seminar and has spent some time living in China, said an exchange of talent and knowledge in languages such as English and sports from Africa for China’s expertise in infrastructural development.

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