Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat (C) announces the operational phase of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement during the launching ceremony in Niamey, capital of Niger, July 7, 2019. (Str/Xinhua)
ACCRA, July 15 (Xinhua) -- It would be prudent for Chinese manufacturing firms that export to Africa to relocate to the continent under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, Ghana's former trade minister has said.
He told Xinhua that this was necessary for China to retain its trading ties with the continent with the expected boom in intra-African trade.
"The incoming arrangement is going to make tariffs lower and eventually non-existent to make it more affordable for African countries to import from one another's countries, than from outside the continent," the former minister said.
For that reason, he said Chinese manufacturers such as rubber processing, textile manufacturers, oil palm mills, and furniture companies that sourced their raw materials from Africa would be far better off locating themselves in Africa.
"This will make them derive benefits from the boom in intra-African trade under AfCFTA," he said.
Spio-Garbrah said there was a need for the manufacturing firms that would relocate to Africa to include metals such as steel, aluminum, and copper, as well as products that used a lot of pulp and paper, plastics and agro-based raw materials, which were abundant on the continent.
"The Chinese government can give special incentives and low-interest loans to Chinese companies which relocate to Africa, to be closer to raw materials; then process the raw materials and export to African countries as well as back to China," the former minister said.