China-Africa Trade: Enabling African Benefit from Trade Links

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The China-Africa trade has become a major issue in international affairs. Although some say the links are beneficial to Africa while other hold a different view, these exchanges nnetheless provide opportunities to maximize the potential offered by the partnership, says Olusanya Ajakaiye, from the African Economic Research Consortium. These opportunities arise in three areas, namely trade, aid and investment.

For now, the Chinese presence is primarily focused on the acquisition of resources beneath the soil of Africa, including oil; moreover, it exports manufactured goods to Africa.

How can the the terms of trade be improved? The researcher is of the view that this could be done through appropriate linkeage to  the Chinese business networks. In practice, improved transactions with the Chinese should be built around strategic partnerships with Chinese business people in order to attract investments in Africa's manufacturing sector and not only in the mining sector; by training the local workforce to manage these new plants; and by establishng joint ventures in other areas, thus moving away from a relatively passive to a more active partnership.