The just-ended 3rd China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo in Changsha, China, proved once again that the two sides have unlimited opportunities to work together for mutual benefit.

For Zimbabwe, the benefits are huge, and the expo offered a great opportunity for business and cooperation.

Zimbabwe was among a host of other African countries whose ministers, diplomats and business leaders from several African nations explored and were exposed to new investment opportunities.

A senior Government official, Winston Chitando who is Zimbabwe’s Minister of Mines and Mining Development delivered a speech at the forum, held matchmaking talks with Chinese companies, and signed an agreement with China Customs.

Zimbabwean competitive products, such as tobacco, stone carvings, citrus, Macadamia nuts, coffee, and baobab powder exhibited at the Expo.

To cap it all, a supplementary phytosanitary requirement for Zim Citrus Export to China was signed on the SPS Forum during China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo in China on 29 June. Zimbabwe’s fresh Citrus was also exhibited at the Expo, attracting many visitors.

The citrus deal is one of the latest dimensions of the cooperation between China and Zimbabwe. It is understood that Zimbabwe will have more and more agricultural products, particularly fruit such as avocados and blueberries, once protocols are in place. Already, Zimbabwe is penetrating the Chinese with its macadamia nuts, one of the projected future giant exports.

Trade between the two sides is growing. Last year, the countries traded goods worth US$2.43 billion with Zimbabwe enjoying a surplus of over US$100 million.

On the other hand, in other economic sectors such as mining and manufacturing, Chinese investments are increasing, with China being the largest source of Foreign Direct Investment.

Just at the close of last week, the country witnessed the opening of a US$300 million lithium processing plant built by Chinese company, Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt in Goromonzi, some 38 km north of the capital Harare.

The investments ties in with Zimbabwe’s economic growth, particularly growing the mining sector economy to achieve US$12 billion size.

Africa’s benefits

The benefits of the just-ended CAET have been recognised by other African countries. It was billed as the biggest yet, with US$19 billion worth of deals expected to be signed.

China’s customs authority released a trade index on Thursday, saying business with Africa will continue its rapid upward trend.

Last year, the value of trade between China and Africa hit an all-time high, with imports from the continent rising 14 percent year-on-year. The increase is partly driven by lower tariffs and faster inspections at customs.

And according to a CGTN Report:  “Much has changed since the last expo. China has extended duty-free policies to Africa’s least developed countries and pledged billions of dollars in trade financing support. And with continental Africa’s largest free trade pact now in effect, Chinese investors are growing more confident in a less fragmented market.”

This will mean that Africa’s trade deficit with China will become narrower, on a trajectory of positive momentum.

But for the more than 1,500 companies taking part in this exhibition, the future is filled with possibilities, CGTN concluded. — NewZimbabwe

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