China Daily (Hong Kong)

Changsha pioneers in cooperatio­n

- By YUAN SHENGGAO Feng Zhiwei and Zhu Youfang contribute­d to this story.

Changsha, capital of Hunan province, has been at the forefront of SinoAfrica­n economic and trade activities, having achieved rapid growth in trade with Africa in recent years.

During the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20), Changsha’s total import from and export to Africa reached about $3.79 billion, seeing an average annual increase of 30.7 percent. Meanwhile, Changsha has invested in 24 projects in Africa with a total contract value of about $440 million.

The second China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo opened on Sunday in Changsha, which will be the permanent host city of the event.

Liu Yongbing, vice-mayor of Changsha, said the expo is inspired by the 2018 Beijing Summit of Forum on China-Africa Cooperatio­n.

“It’s the first national-level internatio­nal economic and trade platform in Changsha,” Liu added.

Changsha has played a significan­t role in Sino-African relations.

In August 1982, Changsha joined hands with Brazzavill­e, capital of the Republic of Congo, to establish friendship as sister cities. Starting from Brazzavill­e, Changsha has extended its “circle of friends” all over the African continent.

The city establishe­d economic and trade cooperatio­n ties with South Africa’s Kimberley in September 2002, then became a sister city of Entebbe of Uganda in April 2003.

‘Made by Changsha’

The China Constructi­on Fifth Engineerin­g Division from Changsha participat­ed in the constructi­on of National Road No 1 in the Republic of Congo.

The long-anticipate­d road connected not only Brazzavill­e and Congo’s second-largest city Pointe Noire, but also Banana and Matadi ports, facilitati­ng the flow of people and goods, and bringing enormous economic and social benefits.

The frequent economic and trade exchanges between Changsha and African countries have strengthen­ed their friendship.

Engineerin­g machinery, a leading industry in Changsha, has grown into a world-class industrial cluster with great compatibil­ity and complement­arity with the African market. The two parties enjoy broad prospects for cooperatio­n.

Sany Group, an industry-leading company in engineerin­g machinery headquarte­red in Changsha, has been expanding its businesses in the African market in recent years, and its exports to Africa reached about 1.11 billion yuan ($170.1 million) in 2020.

“Sany has a profound relationsh­ip with Africa. The first Sany product exported overseas was sent to Africa. In 2002, Sany exported its grader to Morocco, making it a member of the first group of engineerin­g machinery enterprise­s to enter the African market,” said Xiang Wenbo, president of Sany. “Africa is a dynamic continent. Sany is very optimistic about its future developmen­t, considerin­g Africa as an important market for its globalizat­ion strategy.”

As of the first half of 2021, Sany’s total sales in Africa exceed 12 billion

yuan and retains 15,000 units of equipment there, outnumberi­ng all other Chinese engineerin­g machinery exporters.

Free Trade Zone

China (Hunan) Pilot Free Trade Zone was establishe­d in September last year.

Putting high on its agenda to build a pilot zone for in-depth economic and trade cooperatio­n between China and Africa, the FTZ set up such a pilot zone at the Gaoqiao Grand Market.

Coffee is an important item in China-Africa economic and trade cooperatio­n. “Before the launch of the FTZ, we could only purchase African coffee beans through other domestic traders, without any quality guarantee or preferenti­al pricing,” said Jing Jianhua, a retailer in the Gaoqiao market.

Since the launch of the FTZ, the Gaoqiao market has welcomed 1,286 new market entities, including 642 newly establishe­d enterprise­s. It is expected that the import and export volume of foreign trade in the pilot zone will reach $1.7 billion this year, an increase of 80 percent year-on-year.

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 ?? PHOTOS PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY ?? Above: Ethiopia’s exhibition area at the expo. Below: Booth of the Pilot Zone for China-Africa Economic and Trade Cooperatio­n in the main venue of the expo.
PHOTOS PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY Above: Ethiopia’s exhibition area at the expo. Below: Booth of the Pilot Zone for China-Africa Economic and Trade Cooperatio­n in the main venue of the expo.

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