Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Secretary General Sindiso Ngwenya has expressed happiness at the continued growth of mutually beneficial trade between COMESA and China.
Mr. Ngwenya observed that between the year 2002 and 2008, total exports from COMESA countries to China increased from US$ 831.7 million to US$12.2 billion while the imports of from that country during the same period increased from US$1.8 billion to US$12.4 billion.
He said the duty free and quota free regime put in place by China for imports from COMESA less developed countries that have diplomatic relations with the Asian country will result in further increased trade.
The COMESA Secretary General said this when he received letters of credence from Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of China to Zambia and Special Representative of China to COMESA Yang Youming.
Mr. Ngwenya further expressed happiness that China has remained a major development partner on a basis of a win-win partnership with African countries in general and COMESA countries in particular.
He said during the Forum for China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) meeting held in Beijing in 2012, China provided US$20 billion of credit line to African countries to assist them in developing infrastructure, agriculture, manufacturing and small and medium sized enterprise.
Mr. Ngwenya added that in the framework of the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS), China is actively participating in the creation of the new development bank whose US$ 50 billion initial capital will be contributed equally by the five nations.
He said this new bank is intended to compete with the World Bank and its private lending arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), by making it easier and quicker for developing countries to gain access to large-scale financing for infrastructure projects.
Mr. Ngwenya has since pledged to work closely with the new Chinese special representative to COMESA to promote a win-win cooperation in the agriculture, investment and trade, science and technology and infrastructure development sectors.
He added that COMESA, through its engagement with EXIMBANK of China, is confident that support will be provided for the construction of the COMESA headquarters, saying a mission is planned for November to Beijing to complete the negotiations.
And Special Representative of China to COMESA Yang Youming said his country is diversifying its investment in Africa and Zambia in particular in areas such as agriculture in order to move away from the traditional investment in mining, manufacturing and the construction sectors.
Ambassador Yang said this is in order to ensure that China covers all areas of investment in different sectors of the African economy.