ADDIS ABABA, November 5 (Xinhua) – Africa should use the first China International Import Expo (CIIE) to alleviate the various barriers that make the continent more difficult than penetrating potential markets in the developed world, Ethiopian scientists and business executives have said.
Costantinos Bt. Costantinos, who served as the African Union's Economic Advisor and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, said on Monday that "the whole world will be in China for the International Export Expo" was held in Shanghai on November 5 and 10.
"Africa is a poor continent but it is actually one of the richest continents in the world in terms of natural resources," said Costantinos, adding that "many countries in Africa contain rich reserves of valuable minerals such as cotton, diamonds, gold and bauxite, and other valuable goods such as oil, gas and wood. "
Bearing in mind that poor countries often suffer from a "vicious circle of development", attributed to the overcoming of manufacturing output that avoids savings accumulation, Costantinos stressed that the barriers to market entry in developed countries slowed down the performance of the African export sector.
Costantinos, also a public policy professor at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia, urged African firms to acclimatize to the Chinese market and companies to address long-term challenges in gaining access to the global market.
CIIE, which mobilized tens of thousands of Chinese companies to buy imported goods and create links with foreign companies, is another "good opportunity" for companies from the African continent, he said.
Ethiopia's delegation, consisting of representatives of various government agencies, would primarily present the country's potential in agriculture, agribusiness, agro-processing, manufacturing, tourism and trade, according to the Ethiopian Ministry of Trade.
Costantinos has invited Ethiopian participants to the CIIE to attract more export opportunities among Chinese consumers for two large Ethiopia, coffee and sesame export products, and to explore potentials in the Chinese market for products from many industrial parks of Ethiopia.
Expert comments were also shared by many members of the Ethiopian business community, who hoped that the CIIE would further increase Ethiopia's presence in the Chinese market, mainly for agricultural products.
"The Chinese market is very important for the main export products of Ethiopia, such as sesame," Xilehua recently told Haile Berhe, president of the Egyptian Processors-Exporters Association (EPOSPEA).
EPOSPEA, which exported about 70 percent of the Ethiopian sesame in China over the past decade, pledged to maintain and further strengthen the relationship between its members and their Chinese counterparts.
"Our association, with over 130 active members, encourages our members to participate in the CIIE, as well as other fairs and exhibitions, to evaluate the opportunities available in conjunction with our Chinese counterparts," he added.
Ethiopia, which earned a record $ 866 million from coffee exports during the fiscal year 2016-2017, expects to earn more from coffee by increasing its share in the Chinese market.
Alfoz Plc, one of the leading etiopian agro-processing companies engaged in the production, processing and export of coffee, is one of the big private companies in CIIE.
"We believe that CIIE is an ideal opportunity to meet with potential Chinese counterparts who would work with us to effectively explore the Chinese market," Xinhua Iohanis Addis, sales and marketing manager at Alfoz Plc said.