Former President John Dramani Mahama has said African imports from China amount to roughly $148 billion, while exports from Africa to China is estimated at roughly $106 billion, hence, it is important to work together to bridge this trade deficit.
He said the takeoff of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will further bolster free trade between the continent and China but the concern should focus on how this trade benefits countries on the continent as much as it benefits China, as China is one of Africa’s biggest bilateral trading partners and will remain so.
In his keynote address to open the virtual Abuja Forum 2022 organised by Gusau Institute on Thursday, 13 October 2022, Mr Mahama noted that Ethiopia should be a model for Africa’s relations with China.
“Today, it is reported that there are more than 400 Chinese manufacturing investments here, in Ethiopia, and the goods they produce are exported into the US and sourced by some of the major American buyers.
“Why should the rest of Africa not look up to that model and get the support of China to develop same and contribute to a great industrialisation drive on the continent?” he quizzed.
He added that Senegal has built a special economic enclave to attract Chinese and other manufacturing companies. Rwanda, Mauritius, and South Africa are all making steady progress in manufacturing and value addition.
“We must take advantage of AfCFTA, grow our value chains, and get ready for increased international trade,” he stated.