Macau, China, 22 March – The town of Oshikango, in Namibia, next to the border with Angola, is, due to its increasing importance as a Chinese-African trading hub in the region, the example of a trend to boost ties in a post-crisis scenario, according to banker George Lo.
“The trading corridor between China and Africa is seen by many as the most exciting chapter in this global economic shift. This post-recession period will be fed by many new partnerships between African countries and China,” said Lo, director of the First National Bank for East Asia, in a study entitled, “China’s role in the Asian economic recovery: The African perspective.”
According to Lo, in the near future China will continue to invest in Africa to ensure access to raw materials and Africa can take advantage of this opportunity to speed up its economic development.
An example of the pattern of investment is the economic development area that stretches from the copper production area in Zambia as far as the town of Oshikango on the Namibian side of the border with Angola which “is becoming a regional trading hub as more Chinese wholesalers supply Angola with goods through there.”
In the last ten years, trade between China and Africa rose on average 30 percent per year, rising 45 percent year on year in 2008 to US$107 billion.
In his study, published in the monthly bulletin of the Centre for Chinese Studies of South Africa’s Stellenbosch University, Lo said that the crisis had strengthened the position of Asian countries in the international financial system and ties between the economies of China and African countries.
“In the last three years growth in Chinese-African trade has frequently hit the headlines. Even during the crisis, trade between China and the majority of African countries saw two-digit growth. China is becoming the most important trading partner for many African countries. Angola became China’s biggest trading partner in Africa, whilst China is now South Africa’s biggest partner.
Alongside this, China has been focusing on developing infrastructures in Africa and on strategic projects for the construction of airports, roads, railroads and others.
Amongst these are the railroads between Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania and the copper producing area in Zambia and between the Gabonese port of Owendo and Belinga, in Sudan.
“China is also focusing on projects that involve transport, oil pipelines and refineries. These projects are some of the many strategic investments that the country has made with the aim of guaranteeing its oil supply. This is especially important given that 28 percent of China’s energy comes from African countries,” said Lo.
Angola has been gaining weighting amongst Chinese oil suppliers and, at the beginning of this year overtook Saudi Arabia to become the biggest.
In this phase, the banker said, Asia is leading the effort to move out of recession and other countries on the continent are looking at Africa with interest, as is the case with Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea.
It is certain that this year will be one for celebration on both continents: Whilst South Africa will be host in the Summer to the soccer world cup, China will host the biggest ever world exposition in Shanghai. (macauhub)