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Xinhua Silk Road: C. China’s Hunan Province seeks in-depth economic and trade cooperation with Africa

BEIJING, Feb. 2, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Central China’s Hunan Province, one of the most active provinces in terms of economic and trade ties with Africa, is now poised to blaze a trail for deeper ChinaAfrica cooperation with high quality.

A staff member of Kilimall works at a warehouse in Mlolongo, Kenya, July 28, 2023.

China’s State Council has approved an overall plan on pilot zone construction for in-depth ChinaAfrica economic and trade cooperation, promising to support Hunan in building the pilot zone.

The pilot zone is a concrete implementation under the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and an important platform for Hunan to build itself a highland for opening up, said Shen Yumou, head of Hunan’s department of commerce.

Already a hub for ChinaAfrica trade and cooperation, Hunan’s trade volume with Africa reached 55.67 billion yuan in 2023, ranking the first in central and western regions of China.

The province has held the China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo, a significant economic and trade event under the FOCAC framework, for three times, with the third held last year seeing highest-ever participation.

Thanks to platforms such as the trade expo and the Hunan Pilot Free Trade Zone, Hunan’s economic and trade cooperation with Africa has continuously deepened and solidified.

Staff members test wild anchovy products from Kenya in a lab of Jinzai Food Group Company Limited in Yueyang, central China's Hunan Province, June 28, 2023.

In addition to cooperation in such areas as agriculture, equipment manufacturing, energy and mining, road and bridge construction, Hunan and African partners are exploring new opportunities in fields such as digital economy, aerospace, and biomedicine as well, according to Shen Yumou.

In the meantime, experts are organized to implement maternal and child health projects in Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe, and jointly build a cervical disease diagnosis and treatment center with Zimbabwe’s largest public hospital. Luban Workshop and Chuyi Workshop have been introduced to help train local talents as well. Hunan also initiated the first batch of ChinaAfrica research institute exchange projects.

Next, Hunan plans to further expand bilateral trade, improve and expand the supply chain system, deepen production capacity cooperation, and refine financial services for enterprises in the pilot area.

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