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Business Review 2013 (X): Remarkable Achievements Made in China-Africa Economic and Trade Cooperation

Amid a low global economic growth in 2013, China-Africa economic and trade relation maintained a sound momentum of development with a more solid foundation and a stronger will for bilateral cooperation, and improving mechanism for cooperation. During bilateral cooperation, new highlights emerge in large numbers. The economic and trade cooperation based on mutual benefits and win-win development, has not only improved people's livelihood and promoted economic diversification in Africa, which has provided a strong support for China 's economic and social development, but also made positive contributions to South-South cooperation and balanced development of world economy.

I. The historic visit of President Xi Jinping has consolidated the foundation for China-Africa economic and trade cooperation.

March 2013, Xi Jinping paid a visit to Africa on his first trip abroad as Chinese President, firmly showing that the new Chinese government attaches great importance to the development of China-Africa relation with the spirit of authenticity, sincerity, intimacy and integrity in bilateral cooperation, which has laid a solid foundation for future China-Africa cooperation. In 2013, party and state leaders including Chairman Zhang Dejiang, Vice Premier Liu Yandong and Vice Premier Wang Yang also visited Africa in succession, and leaders of African countries including Nigerian President Jonathan, Kenyan President Kenyatta, Zambian President Sata and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam visited China successively. Traditional friendship between China and Africa has been consolidated through bilateral visits, and political mutual trust has been further enhanced, laying a foundation for the sustainable development of China-Africa economic and trade cooperation.

II. The economic and trade measures announced at the FOCAC have been implemented steadily

2013 is the first year of implementing the new economic and trade measures announced at the Fifth Ministerial Conference of China-Africa Cooperation Forum (FOCAC). In expanding investment and financing cooperation, China's financing commitment to provide USD 20 billion has been progressing smoothly, and the projects for which loan agreement has been signed were mainly focused in such areas as infrastructure, agriculture, manufacturing sector and SME development; in terms of expansion of aid to Africa, China expanded assistance to Africa in 2013, and such projects as the agricultural demonstration center, the Brightness Action in Africa and the African Talents Scheme are progressed well; in terms of facilitation of African integration, China and African countries have worked closely, and had an in-depth discussion on advancing cross-border and inter-regional infrastructure and promoting regional trade facilitation in Africa.

III. Economic and trade cooperation mechanism has been improved.

In 2013, China held a new round of joint economic and trade committee with Cote d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Rwanda and South Africa respectively, and carried out discussions and negotiations on major issues in bilateral economic and trade cooperation, which have achieved fruitful results, and had an in-depth exchange of views on further strengthening cooperation. China and South Africa set up an inter-government joint working group, and the two parties will make plans and strengthen coordination for major projects of bilateral cooperation. Meanwhile, in order to deepen China-Africa cross-border and inter-regional infrastructure partnership, Chinese government and the African Union Commission have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Cross-border (Inter-regional) Infrastructure Construction in Africa, and a joint working group has been set up to provide a mechanism for future cooperation of the two parties.

IV. Bilateral trade is expected to hit a record high.

In 2013, China-African bilateral trade maintains healthy development. In January-October, China-Africa trade reached to USD 172.83 billion, going up by 5.5 % year-on-year; It is expected to exceed USD 200 billion in the whole year, hitting a record high. Meanwhile, bilateral trade structure keeps optimizing, with the proportion of such products with high technology and added value as machinery and electronic products and high-tech products accounting for nearly half of total exports to Africa, and Africa’s industrial products including steel and copper also entered into Chinese market. China has further opened up market to Africa by offering zero tariff treatment to the least developed countries in Africa who have established diplomatic ties with China, including Ethiopia, Benin and Burundi, on 95% of imports from Africa, which has effectively promoted African's exports to China.

V. Chinese investment in Africa continues to expand.

In the wake of restructuring in China and the acceleration of industrialization and urbanization in Africa, more and more Chinese enterprises have invested in Africa in recent years, and carried out cooperation with African enterprises by taking their advantages in capital and technology. In January-October 2013, China's non-financial direct investment in Africa reached USD2.54 billion, increasing by 71.6% year-on-year. At present, there are over 2,000 Chinese companies set up in Africa, covering such areas as agriculture, infrastructure, manufacturing, energy development, finance and commerce, which have employed over 80,000 local employees. Such investment promotion measures as China-Africa Development Fund, Special Loan for the Development of African SMEs and China-Africa Economic and Trade Cooperation Areas have played important role in guiding Chinese enterprises to invest in Africa.

VI. Remarkable results have been made in China’s contracted projects in Africa

Africa has become the second largest market for China’s overseas contracted projects, and Chinese enterprises have actively involved in such infrastructure construction as power, energy, transportation and peoples’ well being in Africa. In January-October 2013, the value of newly signed contracts by Chinese enterprises in Africa reached USD 47.01 billion, rising by 22.5%on a year-on-year basis, with the turnover of USD 32.21 billion, a year-on-year growth of 11.4%. Chinese enterprises, on the basis of consolidating their traditional advantages, are exploring upstream and downstream contracted projects in Africa, and have been engaged in the feasibility study, plan, design as well as operation management of relevant projects.

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