Chinese imports from Africa rose by 8% in Q1 2024, reaching $29.4bn


(Ecofin Agency) – Chinese imports from the African continent surged by 8% during the first quarter of 2024, totaling $29.42 billion, according to data released on April 20 by the Chinese General Administration of Customs.

This increase is mainly attributed to the rise in imports of minerals, particularly metals used in the production of electric vehicle batteries and gold. It has also been driven by the soaring prices of several raw materials and Beijing’s incentive measures to boost trade with Africa, such as eliminating tariffs on 98% of products imported from over twenty countries on the continent.

The Chinese Customs Authority also noted that China’s exports to Africa increased by 4.4% between January 1 and March 31, 2024, reaching $41.4 billion. Trade between the Asian country and Africa thus rose by 5.9% year-on-year during the first three months of the current year, amounting to $70.86 billion.

Chinese exports to Africa consist mainly of finished products (textiles, machinery, electronics, etc.), while African imports to China are dominated by raw materials such as crude oil, copper, cobalt, and iron ore, leading to a chronic trade surplus for China.

To address this imbalance, Beijing has waived tariffs on 98% of products imported from 21 African countries, including Ethiopia, Guinea, Mozambique, Rwanda, and Togo. This tariff dismantling follows Chinese President Xi Jinping’s announcement during the 8th Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC 8) held in Dakar in November 2021, regarding Beijing’s intention to increase its imports of African agricultural products. President Xi has stated that the goal is to raise total Chinese imports from the African continent to $100 billion per year starting in 2022, and then to $300 billion per year by 2035.


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