Senegal's booming Chinese trade

The volume of trade between China and Senegal amounted to $633 million in August 2013, an increase of 20.8 percent compared to the same period last year

Senegal's booming Chinese trade

On one of the Senegalese capital Dakar's main avenues, a row of shops showcases diverse Chinese-made items.

"I have been here since 2009 selling Chinese stuff," Ling Cao, a 47-year-old Chinese national, told Anadolu Agency.

He sells shoes, clothes, scarves, belts, watchbands, curtains and linens, along with several other Chinese-made goods.

Like most Chinese merchants, Ling speaks Wolof, Senegal's main local language.

"In the beginning, there were only Chinese in this boulevard, but now some Senegalese ladies and gentlemen are doing like us," he recalled.

"They have understood the deal," laughed the Chinese trader.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi concluded on Saturday a two-day visit to Senegal as part of multi-leg six-day Africa tour.

He held separate talks with President Macky Sall, Prime Minister Aminata Touré and Foreign Minister Mankeur Ndiaye.

On Saturday, the top diplomat visited the 1,800-seat Grand Theater, built with Chinese funding to the tune of 14 billion CFA francs (roughly $29 million).

Senegal and China have a longstanding cooperation relationship dating back to 1971.

But from 1996 to 2005, relations were interrupted after the West African nation officially recognized Taiwan, an island that has for all practical purposes been independent since 1950.

China, however, regards Taiwan as a rebel region and insists that countries cannot have diplomatic relations with both it and Taiwan.

In 2005, Senegal broke its ties with Taiwan and recognized the People's Republic of China.

Four years later, the two countries signed a cooperation agreement for the renovation of 11 stadiums at a total cost of 25 billion CFA Francs (approximately $51.5 million).

China has also built a 140-bed children's hospital on the outskirts of Dakar at a cost of 5 billion CFA francs (roughly $10 million).

Growing

Papa Alboury Seck, a Senegalese international consultant with considerable experience in China, is optimistic about the future of cooperation with the emerging eastern giant.

"We can expect the Chinese presence in Senegal to continue growing faster in the next years because of the political stability of the country," he told AA.

Chinese Ambassador in Senegal Xia Huang has recently highlighted prospects of bilateral cooperation.

"As of today, there are 30 Chinese companies in Senegal," he told reporters last week.

Xia cited a more than 20-percent increase in trade volumes between the two countries.

"The volume of trade between China and Senegal amounted to $633 million in August 2013, an increase of 20.8 percent compared to the same period last year," he said.

Seck noted that, while Senegal wasn't rich in natural resources, the country was nevertheless very attractive to Beijing.

"China needs stable countries in Africa with which to establish strong cooperation," Seck asserted.

AA

Last Mod: 12 Ocak 2014, 17:10
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