As the annual Central Economic Work Conference concluded in China this week, experts in Uganda said that the Asian giant’s sustained economic growth will continue to provide opportunities for the world, particularly for Africa.
China’s National Bureau of Statistics said the country is striving for a steady recovery, with a year-on-year 4.9 percent gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the third quarter and a year-on-year 5.2 percent growth in the first three quarters of 2023.
Corti Paul Lakuma, a senior research fellow at Uganda’s Economic Policy Research Center, said that in comparison to global growth, China’s economic growth rate is impressive.
Forecasts from international financial institutions predict China’s 2024 growth rate will exceed global rates: the World Bank estimates 4.5 percent, while the International Monetary Fund forecasts 4.6 percent.
China’s focus on new growth areas such as the digital economy and green energy opens opportunities globally, especially for Africa. Experts said as one of the biggest manufacturers of electronic vehicles (EV), China is a rapidly growing market for critical minerals sourced from African countries, especially in the microchip and EV manufacturing sector. This will boost the trade between Africa and China, for example, in minerals like lithium.
Daniel Karibwije, a trade specialist and business consultant based in Kampala, said China’s experience will help boost Africa’s solar panel industry and digital economy growth.
“There will be more innovations and inventions in China, which will have a spillover effect on Africa,” Karibwije said.
This year marks the 45th anniversary since China began its reform and opening-up, a policy that makes China an attractive destination for investment. China’s ongoing market accessibility continues to attract foreign investment, with over 40,000 new foreign-invested enterprises established in the first 10 months of 2023, a 32.1 percent increase year-on-year, according to China’s Ministry of Commerce.
Lakuma sees this openness as an opportunity for African companies to engage in joint ventures with Chinese enterprises and expand goods and services exports.
China has implemented favorable policies regarding tariffs and market access for African countries, which provides a viable avenue for foreign enterprises to export to China, allowing them to benefit from China’s immense market potential, the experts said.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).