Africa should use the first China International Import Expo (CIIE) to facilitate various obstacles that have prevented the continent from entering the potential market in an advanced part of the world, Ethiopian researchers and business executives have said.
Costantinos Bt. Costantino, who served as the Financial Adviser to the African Union and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, told Xinhua on Monday that at the International Import Expo Fair in Shanghai on 5-10 October, "the whole world is in China".
"Africa is a poor continent, but it is indeed one of the richest continents in the world in terms of resources," Costantinos said and added that "many African countries contain a wealth of valuable minerals such as cotton, diamonds, gold and bauxite as well as other valuable goods such as oil, gas and wood. "
Noting that the poor countries often suffer from the "vicious cycle of development" due to the mainstream of income-generating revenue cuts, Costantinos stressed that barriers to entry in the developed world have slowed down the performance of the African export sector.
Costantino, also a professor of public policy at Addis Abeba University in Ethiopia, urged African companies to adapt to Chinese markets and companies to meet long-term challenges to reach the global market.
CIIE, which mobilizes tens of thousands of Chinese companies to buy imported goods and establish ties with foreign companies, is another "good opportunity" for African continent businesses, he said.
The Ethiopian delegation, consisting of representatives of various government agencies, presents mainly the country's potential in agriculture, processing of agricultural products, industry, tourism and trade, according to the Ethiopian Ministry of Commerce.
Costantinos urged CIIE Ethiopian participants to seize export opportunities for Chinese consumers to Ethiopia's two major export products, handles and sesame, and to explore the potential of Ethiopia's many industrial park products on the Chinese market.
Experts were also reminded by several Ethiopian businessmen who hoped that CIIE would further promote Ethiopia's presence on the Chinese market, mainly for agricultural products.
"The Chinese market is very important to Ethiopia's major export products, such as sesame," Xinhua recently told Haile Berhe, Managing Director of the Ethiopian Pulses, Oilseeds and Spice Processors and Exporters Association (EPOSPEA).
EPOSPEA, who spent some 70 percent of Ethiopia's sake in China over the last decade, is also committed to maintaining and strengthening the relationship between its members and their Chinese counterparts.
"Our association, with more than 130 active members, has encouraged our members to participate in CIIE and other fairs and exhibitions so we can assess the opportunities that are available in cooperation with our Chinese colleagues," he added.
Ethiopia, which earned a record $ 866 million in coffee exports from 2016-2017, expects to earn more coffee by increasing its share of the Chinese market.
Alfoz Corporation, one of the leading processing companies in the Mining, Processing and Export industries in Ethiopia, is one of CIIE's high profile private companies.
"We believe that CIIE is an ideal opportunity to meet our potential Chinese colleagues who would cooperate with us so we can effectively explore the Chinese market," said Xinhua Yohanis Addis, Sales and Marketing Manager at Alfoz Corporation.