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2014 Business Review XI: China-Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Starts a New Chapter

China-Africa trade and economic cooperation in 2014 overcame some bad influences from the weak growth of global economy and price decline of commodities, continued to maintain a sound momentum of development, advanced the cooperation in trade, investment and financing, contracted projects and connectivity constantly and provided strong support for their own economic development.

I. High-level visits upgraded cooperation. In 2014, Premier Li Keqiang paid a visit to four African countries including Ethiopia and the headquarters of the African Union, putting forth a framework for China-Africa cooperation to upgrade the China-Africa cooperation. The visits marked the 50th anniversary of Premier Zhou Enlai鈥檚 visit to Africa. It is regarded as the concrete practice of the concept of 鈥済enuine, sincere, friendly and honest鈥China-Africa cooperation proposed by President Xi Jinping and can be traced to Premier Zhou鈥檚 five principles for China鈥檚 relations with African countries and eight principles for China鈥檚 economic aid and technical assistance to other countries, indicating a major orientation of development for China-Africa trade and economic cooperation over a period in the future. Leaders from 11 African countries visited China or attended activities in China one after another including South African President Zuma and Egypt鈥檚 President al-Sisi. The visits have consolidated and developed the traditional friendship between China and African countries, further strengthened strategic mutual trust and laid out a solid ground for an overall, rapid and sustainable development of China-Africa trade and economic cooperation.

II. Implementation of the measures of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) were accelerated. The year 2014 was a key year to implement the fifth FOCAC ministerial meeting鈥檚 trade and economic measures. With close coordination and joint efforts of China and Africa, the implementation work was steadily advanced. On expanding investment and financing cooperation, the US$20 billion of funding committed by the Chinese side was ready in advance and mainly used in supporting African infrastructure, agriculture, manufacturing and SME development, further improving Africa鈥檚 ability to 鈥渕ake blood鈥 On extending and developing its foreign aid, China has increased its aid to African countries year by year, and a series of projects such as China-aided agricultural technology centers in Africa, 鈥淟ight Tour鈥activities and vocational training have gone on smoothly and made positive contributions to the improvement of people鈥檚 livelihood in African countries. On supporting Africa鈥檚 integration, China-Africa cross-border infrastructure cooperation saw a robust development, and projects on promoting regional trade facilitation were steadily advanced, enhancing the regional connectivity in Africa.

III. The inter-governmental cooperative mechanisms became richer and richer. In 2014, China held trade and economic joint commission meetings with seven countries of Ethiopia, Burundi, Zimbabwe, the Republic of the Congo, Senegal, Jordan and Egypt respectively, effectively coordinating and promoting major programs in bilateral trade and economic cooperation. China and South Africa held the first meeting of the China-South Africa joint working group to promote multilateral and bilateral cooperation on major projects. China and the African Union held the first meeting of the China-Africa cross-border and cross-regional infrastructure construction joint working group, and the two sides carried out in-depth talks on China-Africa connectivity infrastructure cooperation and built up a new platform for Chinese enterprises to participate in African economic integration.

IV. Bilateral trade maintained a steady growth. China-Africa bilateral trade maintained a steady and sound growth in 2014, with its quality being improved increasingly and its structure becoming more reasonable. In January-November, China-Africa trade totaled US$201.1 billion, going up 5.4% year on year, with its annual trade hitting US$200 billion once again. Among others, China鈥檚 export to Africa saw a robust growth, up 13.2% year on year, 8.3 percentage points higher than China鈥檚 export growth over the same period. Export of technical equipment to Africa made a major breakthrough, and Chinese enterprises signed a supply contract of locomotives with South Africa, aiming to export a total value of US$3 billion electric locomotives to South Africa, hitting an order record of China鈥檚 vehicle exports of high-end railway transportation equipment.

V. China鈥檚 investment to Africa continued to expand. In recent years, Africa has become an emerging destination of China鈥檚 outbound investment. In January-November 2014, Chinese enterprises made a non-financial direct investment of US$3.5 billion in Africa, up 19% year on year. More than 2,500 Chinese enterprises did business in Africa, and it covered various areas including finance, telecommunications, energy, manufacturing and agriculture, creating more than 100,000 jobs directly for local people. The manufacturing and service industry have become new highlights of China-Africa investment cooperation in recent years. Chinese enterprises have made investment in finance, trade, science and technology, service and power supply, and positively responded to African countries鈥urgent demands for the acceleration of the industrialization process and the transformation of economic development modes.

VI. Cooperation in contracted projects saw a robust growth. Africa is Chinese enterprises鈥second largest contracted projects market overseas. In January-November 2014, China made a total contract value of US$70.8 billion in Africa, with a turnover of US$46 billion, going up 33% and 26% respectively. The cooperation covered various fields like electronic power, communications, water conservancy, and railway, bridge and port construction. On the basis of consolidating our traditional advantages, Chinese enterprises also expanded fields of cooperation positively, explored and tried to conduct project operation management and made positive progress in China-Africa cross-border and cross-regional infrastructure cooperation. Some major projects like the Mombasa-Nairobi railway and the Ethiopia-Djibouti railway, undertaken by Chinese enterprises, have started construction successively.

In 2015, Africa鈥檚 peaceful development will not be changed and Africa鈥檚 economy will maintain a rapid growth under various influences of consumption promotion, investment and international cooperation and China-Africa trade and economic cooperation will embrace new and greater opportunities.

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