Trade between China and African countries recorded double-digit growth in 2022, thanks in part to rising commodity prices.
Trade between China and Africa reached a record $282 billion (260 billion euros) in 2022, up 11% from 2021, according to data released by the General Administration of Chinese Customs.
China’s exports to African countries increased by 11.2% over the past year to $164.49 billion (€151.3 billion). During the same period, Chinese imports from Africa totaled $117.51 billion (€108 billion).
The increase in the value of Sino-African trade in 2022 is due to rising commodity prices, of which China is a major consumer.
Most of China’s exports to Africa are finished goods (textiles and clothing, machinery, electronics, etc.), while African exports to China are dominated by raw materials such as crude oil, copper, cobalt and iron ore, resulting in a trade surplus in China’s favor.
However, the Chinese authorities have put in place policies to correct this trade imbalance. Last September, Beijing eliminated tariffs for the least developed African countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Lesotho, Malawi, Uganda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Tanzania and Zambia.
“This Chinese initiative will strengthen agricultural cooperation with these countries, increase farm revenues and realize economic opportunities for women. Finally, it bets on changing the trade structure of African countries that mainly export minerals,” said Liu Qinghai, director of the Africa Economic Institute at Zhejiang University.
The removal of tariffs comes after Chinese President Xi Jinping announced at the 8th Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC 8) held in Dakar in November 2021 that he would increase his imports of African agricultural products.
Xi Jinping said at the time that the goal was to increase Chinese imports from the African continent to 100 billion dollars (92 billion euros) per year from 2022, then to 300 billion dollars (276 billion euros) per year by 2035.
South Africa is China’s largest trading partner in Africa, with bilateral trade of $56.74 billion (€52.2 billion) in 2022. China’s other main trading partners on the continent are Nigeria, Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In 2022, Africa strengthened its ties with China, its largest economic partner. Among the year’s successes are the increase in their economic exchanges – four times larger than Sino-American ones – and the strengthening of Chinese influence in the Horn of Africa, Chinese and Russian researchers told SputnikNews.
The director of the Africa Economic Institute at Zhejiang University explained that the increase in trade shows that “Beijing maintains its primacy as the continent’s largest economic partner.
She said Sino-African trade volumes are four times larger than those between Africa and the United States. In addition, China continues to be the largest provider of direct investment to the continent, which is twice that of the United States.