CHANGSHA, June 29 (Xinhua) -- The China-Africa Trade Index, based on trade-indicator data between China and African countries, was released for the first time at the opening of the third China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo on Thursday in Changsha, capital of central China's Hunan Province.
The index, which was released by the General Administration of Customs, shows strong growth in trade over the past two decades and indicates that trade between China and Africa has become increasingly close, with trade potential continuing to grow, said Lyu Daliang, director of the statistics and analysis department of the administration.
He explained that the general index of data in the year 2000 is set as the benchmark, starting from 100 points. It reached a record high of 990.55 points in 2022, when China sustained its role as Africa's largest trading partner for 14 consecutive years.
In the first five months of 2023, China's total import and export volume with Africa reached 822.32 billion yuan (113.5 billion U.S. dollars), up 16.4 percent year on year, according to the administration's data.
Lyu said statistics show that China's trade with Africa rose from less than 100 billion yuan in 2000 to 1.88 trillion yuan in 2022, posting a cumulative increase of more than 20 times, with an average annual growth rate of 17.7 percent.
Lyu said the index serves as a "barometer" of bilateral trade. In addition to the overall index, there are five first-level indicators such as trade scale, closeness, structure, potential and main-body vitality.
The release of the trade index is among the main activities at the expo. Themed "Common Development for a Shared Future," the four-day event will see representatives from 53 African countries and multiple international organizations in attendance.
A total of 1,500 exhibitors have signed up for the expo, up 70 percent from the previous expo. A wide array of African products will be on display, from Kenyan roses to Egyptian essence, as their traders use the expo to explore the vast Chinese market.
China is Africa's largest trading partner and its fourth-biggest source of investment. Official data shows that bilateral trade between China and Africa stood at 282 billion U.S. dollars in 2022. In the first four months of the year, China's new direct investment in Africa reached 1.38 billion dollars, up 24 percent year on year. ■