China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo Aims to Defy Western 'Debt Trap' Accusations, Generating $19 Billion in Trade Deals

According to a report from the third annual China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo, Africa and China are continuing to strengthen their long-term trade ties. China wants to be one of Africa’s largest trading partners, and reports revealed on Friday that this year’s expo is expected to generate $19 billion in deals.

Annual Trade Event Between Africa and China Highlights ‘Western Smears’ and Multi-Billion-Dollar Trade Deals

After 2010, trade between Africa and China increased a great deal and in 2011, trade between Africa and China increased by 33% from the previous year to $166 billion. The following year, trade increased further by over 22% year-over-year. China and Africa have significantly increased their trade in 2023 through a variety of initiatives and investments. Reports further indicate that China aims to surpass the European Union as Africa’s largest trading partner by 2030.

Trade between China and Africa grew by 9% year-on-year to reach $94.4 billion in the first four months of 2023, according to statistics. This week, leading members from African governments and the continent’s private sector have convened for the third annual China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo held in Changsha, Hunan Province, China. The annual event is a platform for China and African countries to promote economic and trade cooperation. This year’s Expo is themed “Common Development for a Shared Future.”

Regional reports indicate that this year’s expo is expected to generate $19 billion in deals. According to Chinese media, many African officials and business representatives have rejected Western accusations of a “debt trap” in China-Africa cooperation, and have expressed their desire for closer ties with China. Anna A Wapalila, CEO of Herbanna General Supply Co in Tanzania, was quoted in the Chinese media report as saying, “China is the biggest market. If you can get any products to China, it means that you [don’t need to] look for any other countries in the world.”

James Kimonyo, the Rwandan Ambassador to China, also spoke about the United States claiming China is setting Africa up to fall into a debt trap. “In any economic structure, you look at the pillars and the projects that are going to support your growth,” Kimonyo said. “Once you have identified them, then you look for the resources to implement them. And then in the process of looking for the resources, then you engage the partners. China happens to be a partner that is very open in terms of what we discuss in terms of the financing of projects.” Kimonyo added:

I think that narrative is wrong. China is not putting Africa in a debt trap.

The People’s Daily explained that there was a lot of talk about the “Western smear” and statements against the alleged Western countries’ attempt to “decouple” Africa from China. China is now the fourth largest investor in Africa, and its investments in African countries have exceeded $30 billion in the last ten years. “There is no point in complaining when you get money from China as long as the money is invested in the projects that are going to make a difference in the lives of all people,” Kimonyo added.

What are your thoughts on China’s efforts to strengthen trade ties with Africa and the alleged Western accusations of a ‘debt trap’? Share your thoughts and opinions about this subject in the comments section below.

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