China-Africa trade strengthened by Canton Fair
The organisers of the Canton Fair in China say the fair has helped strengthen trade ties between Africa and China.
Trade between China and Africa has displayed sustainable growth despite the ongoing global financial crisis. According to Chinese customs data, Sino-African trade value rose 31% to USD166.3 billion last year. As of April 2012, China's direct investment in Africa totalled USD15.3 billion - a 30-fold increase from a decade ago - and China has been Africa's largest trading partner for the last three years.
Many African businesspeople have achieved great success by attending the Canton Fair. Of the 188,145 foreign buyers who attended the 112th Canton Fair, which closed early last month, 13,362 (over 7%) were from Africa. This has positively impacted the commercial development of the continent and enhanced the quality of life of many African people.
The deepening trade ties between China and Africa are not only evidenced by an increase in trade volume, but also by the strengthening of countless business relationships and a growing reliance of Africa on the quality and competitive price of China-sourced goods, say the event organisers.
The competitive price of goods available through the Canton Fair is clearly a major draw for many African importers. One Nigerian businesswoman, in Guangzhou to purchase window frames and rainwear, said the 112th Canton Fair was the fourth consecutive event she had attended. "Chinese goods are of ideal price and good quality," she asserted, having exhaustively surveyed exhibitors' prices.
A 46-year-old Burkina Faso businessman revealed that he'd been attending the Canton Fair twice a year since 2004. An experienced purchaser at the Fair, he is accustomed to inspecting products, asking prices, taking notes, and requesting catalogues and name cards.
Paul Chisora decided to attend the Canton Fair after seeing an advertisement on a website. The 20-year-old Zimbabwean was hoping to buy competitively priced gift items such as cups, vases and stationery, to be branded and sold later in his own country.
Former Vice-Minister of Commerce Wei Jianguo said recently that he expects China's trade with Africa to hit USD 220 billion this year, and that it will surpass Sino-American and Sino-European trade over the next five years. The Canton Fair will surely continue to play a major part in this trend.
The next 113th Canton Fair will be in April & May 2013 in Guangzhou, China.