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New platform to enhance Sino-African trade

By WANG XIAODONG | China Daily | Updated: 2022-06-29 07:28
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A new platform to promote economic and trade cooperation between China and Africa was established in Beijing on Tuesday.

The Asia-Africa Innovation Cooperation Center was set up following President Xi Jinping's proposal made at the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in 2018 to set up a China-Africa center on innovation cooperation to promote innovation and entrepreneurship among young people in China and Africa, according to the Administrative Committee of Beijing Daxing International Airport Economic Zone.

The center was jointly set up by the committee, the embassies of a number of African nations in China and Chinese companies including Asia-Africa Silk Road International Business Co.

It is set to become an important channel through which Chinese and African entrepreneurs can set up and develop business more efficiently, the zone's administrative committee said.

The committee said it will intensify cooperation with African countries and improve the business environment and services, with the center facilitating China-Africa cooperation in areas such as trade, investment, science and technology, environmental protection, culture, tourism and talent cultivation.

Deep friendship

Mahamudu Bawumia, the vice-president of Ghana, applauded the establishment of the center and the deep friendship and cooperation between China and Ghana.

"The establishment of the Asia-Africa Innovation Cooperation Center, with the inclusion of a Ghana pavilion, is a further indication of the greater commitment between our two countries," he said via video link at the launch ceremony of the center on Tuesday.

The range of Chinese investment in Ghana is very wide and covers areas including agriculture, health, infrastructure, industries and services, which have made significant contributions to creating jobs and promoting development in Ghana, he said, adding that China is Ghana's biggest trading partner and foreign investment source.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, China has provided assistance in terms of projects such as ports, roads and bridges, which have brought benefits to the people of Ghana, he said.

Speaking at the launch ceremony, Martin Chedondo, Zimbabwe's ambassador to China, said, "The center represents the culmination of the initiative by the government of China to forge stronger and mutually beneficial relations and cooperation with Africa."

"It symbolizes China's vision to uplift the lives of the people on the African continent through the promotion of trade and investment with China," he said, adding that he expects the center to become a platform for sharing information and resources and policy communication between China and Africa in the promotion of economic cooperation and trade.

"The center will truly be a steppingstone in the quest to jointly build a China-Africa community with a shared future of prosperity," he said.

"The center will facilitate the importation and sale of Zimbabwean goods both online and offline. This will help enterprises in Zimbabwe expand their production capacities, thereby growing our economy and increasing jobs."

Key role in cooperation

Dawano Kedir, deputy head of mission of the Ethiopian embassy in Beijing, applauded China-Ethiopia cooperation and said he hoped the center would play an important role in strengthening bilateral cooperation.

Saying that China has made a great contribution to the development of Ethiopia, he added that the "great opportunities" created by China had benefited both sides.

Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, China-Africa trade exceeded $250 billion last year, making China the biggest trading partner of Africa for 13 years in a row, according to China's Ministry of Commerce.

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