Africa is the biggest importer of Chinese goods and services, which means China has surpassed the United States as Africa’s largest trading partner.
However, China’s trade and economic expansion is often regarded with negativity, particularly in Africa where Chinese investors are acquiring vast tracts of land, resulting in countries fearing too much economic dependence on the Chinese economy.
However its not all bad news for businesses in the continent, this is according the some of Africa’s most important business thinkers such as Dr Nkosana Moyo from the Mandela Institute for Development Studies, and Melissa Cook from African Sunrise Partners, an investment strategy firm.
These are just some of the business leaders who shared their views at the the recent United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
Here are 5 of the biggest reasons they gave why Africa needs China as an alternative trading partner to the West
1. “I think China has machinery that is much more affordable than some of the Western machinery. Get on a plane and go, don’t believe what you read in the headlines…go and see the vibrancy of the markets and the entrepreneurial spirit in some of the most important countries.” – Melissa Cook, Founder and Managing Director at African Sunrise Partners
2. “I think China is good for the continent to the extent that we as a continent want it to be, like everything as they should not be allowed to run amok, to run loose, because we always need to make sure that we keep the tapes.” – Louisa Mojapela, Founder and Group CEO of WIPHOLD.
3. “The Asian superpower is currently Africa’s largest trading partner, having surpassed the United States in 2009. Trade volume between the two has grown rapidly in the past decade. It was $10.5 billion in 2000, $40 billion in 2005 and $166 billion in 2011, and a reported $190 billion in 2012.” – Dr Nkosana Moyo, Founder and executive chairman of the Mandela Institute for Development Studies.
4. “China is good for Africa without question, in at least a few dimensions. One is that Chinese markets for African produced everything is really important and we see it in agriculture, we certainly see it in raw materials, we see it now in benefactions, we see it in many different categories of trade going in that direction.” – Peter Baird, head of Africa principal finance at Standard Chartered Bank
5. “Today Africa is about a billion people, growing economies; seven out of the ten fastest growing economies are in the continent. There is an image issue that in our view is the greatest challenge. It’s an image issue that seems to be exasperated by the fact that many don’t really get Africa.” – Jean-Louis Ekra, Chairman and President of the African Import-Export Bank.
Watch: See what these leaders have to say in this five minutes video