Trade between China and Africa on the way to exceeding US$100 billion

11 October 2010

Macau, China, 11 Oct – Trade between China and African countries is expected to exceed US$100 billion in 2010, benefiting from investments made in the last few years by Chinese companies in mining, agricultural and industrial projects.

According to figures from the Chinese trade ministry, to which Macauhub had access, in the first half of the year bilateral trade rose 65 percent, to US$61.2 billion, and thus the balance of trade is expected to return to levels posted before the global financial crisis.

After having reached US$106.8 billion in 2008, Chinese-African trade dropped by 14.7 percent last year, to US$91.1 billion.

According to the Chinese Ministry, over 1,600 Chinese companies are currently investing in Africa in the mining, trade, agriculture, construction and industrial sectors.

In July, according to the same source, Beijing granted tax exemption on 60 percent of imports from the 26 least developed African nations.

According to official figures from China’s customs service, trade with Portuguese-speaking countries from January to august rose 60.52 percent year on year, to US$58.57 billion.

In the period, China exported goods worth US$18.59 billion and imported goods worth US$39.98 billion, leading to a trade deficit of over US$21 billion, mainly with Angola.

The African Development Bank (ADB), in a recently published report, noted that growth in trade between Africa and China had been achieved at a time of stagnation of decline in trade relations with other blocs.

“String demand from China has driven African exporters,” the ADB research director, Leonce Ndikumana said in the document.

Ndikumana, however, warned against excessive concentration of the basket of imported goods, which made the African continent’s economies more exposed to price volatility.

According to the “China’s Trade and Investment activities in Africa” report, Europe is still the main African trading partner, but its weight in overall African trade has fallen from 50 percent in the 1990 to around 30 percent currently.

In a relationship in which oil and mineral exports to China have an important role, the Chinese market already accounts for 10 percent of the total trade of African countries.

Angola, which this year is in first place amongst China’s main oil suppliers, accounts for 34 percent of Chinese imports in Africa, more than South Africa (20 percent), the Sudan (11 percent) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (8 percent), the study said.

The current potential for trade is US$114 billion, US$52 billion in exports and US$62 billion in imports.

The same ADB report noted that Chinese investments had risen by an average of 46 percent per year over the last decade, mainly focused on water supply and sanitation, transport, electricity, and information and communication technologies. (macauhub)