China-Arab Trade Fair: African Union Sells Continent’s Economic, Investment Potentials

AU Chair President Alpha Condé of Guinea Conakry attended the event in Yinchuan, China.

 Africa took centre stage at the China-Arab States Expo from September 6-9, 2017 in Yinchuan, capital of China’s Ningxia Hui Ethnic Autonomous Region. Guinea Conakry President and African Union Chair, Prof. Alpha Condé, represented the continent at the four-day event. He described Africa’s participation at the the exposition as the outcome of close and intensive interaction, and the opening up of new avenues for more cooperation.

The Guinean leader said though China’s development miracles have already benefitted Africa, Chinese authorities should always include the continent in their development plans. Alpha Condé described the Chinese-driven Belt and Road Initiative as a good link, saying Africa with its young energetic population made up mostly of people less than 30 years-old made it a good cooperation partner. While calling for the new world economic order to be environmentally-friendly, the African Union Chair attributed Africa’s recent technological progress to the assistance offered by China.

In his message read at the opening, Chinese President Xi Jinping said China and Arab nations were important partners in promoting the Belt and Road Initiative, adding that the trade fair echoes the philosophy of international cooperation. Egypt, which was Guest of Honour at the exposition, was represented by the Minister of Trade and Industry, Tarek Qabil. Qabil spoke of the many investment opportunities presented by Egypt as one of the leading economies in Africa. Mohamed Yahya Ould El Kherchi, Deputy Speaker of the Mauritanian Parliament, said his country’s trade with China in 2016 reached 6.1 billion US dollars (3,324 billion FCFA). This involved fisheries, capital development, and operations of the free trade zone.

Some 47 countries, including executives from 1,080 companies and about 5,000 exhibitors covering 31 industries, took part in the trade fair. There were 12 exhibitions, a business conference and discussions on cooperation in areas such as high-speed railways, technology transfer and innovation, banking, agriculture, tourism, capacity building, logistics and tourism. China-Arab trade reached 171.14 billion US dollars (or 93,269 billion FCFA) in 2016.


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