The 10th BRICS summit wrapped up in Johannesburg on July 27, and the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation is scheduled to be held in Sept. in Beijing, which will bring together over 50 government heads of African countries. These events send a plausible message that China and Africa values greatly each other in development and present an opportunity for them to reflect on the development roads and prospects that high& new techs and innovations can harbor for economic transformation and upgrading in a new era.
In the last four decades, cooperation between China and African countries has been deepening,China has been generous in delivering vital aid to African countries to improve their economies and infrastructure. As early as 1970s, China invested significant support in the construction of the 1,860 km single-track Tanzania-Zambia Railway, which connected Kapiri Mposhi in Zambia with the port Dar es Salam in Tanzania, forging the only route that allowed bulk trade from Zambia’s copperbelt, a region running through northern Zambia and the southern Democratic Republic of Congo known for copper mining, to get to the sea without transiting white-occupied areas. The historic meaning of the railway is that it facilitates trade and contributes to Zambia’s independence. As a matter of fact, that was by then the biggest foreign-aid project China had taken abroad, which cost about $406 million. Of course, this is not to say that China was there to offer charity, but it was a show of China’s goodwill to help Africa improve its infrastructure fundamentally, which laid a foundation for economic development.
That was the kind of old challenges Africa faced at old times. This is a time of great changes, and new challenges are ceaselessly springing. Under new conditions, cooperation mode between China and Africa also needs upgrading. It is fairly well known that China has quite much experience to share in having managed such a fast development pace all through these years. In its industrialization process, it has been giving full play to various kinds of technologies, and among them is e-commerce. In some of China’s provinces and cities, e-commerce is impressively burgeoning, take for example, Hangzhou, capital of east China’s Zhejiang Province, it has seen a growth rate in e-commerce of more than 30 per cent for 7 years in a row, sealing its reputation as China’s E-commerce Capital. The city has fostered a sleet of e-commerce representatives, such as Alibaba and JUMORE.
China, as the largest trading partner for many African countries, can play a big role through the power of e-commerce, and help African countries develop their e-commerce to buy from the world and sell to the world by breaking down physical barriers. This is crucial for African countries when it sets itself the task of industrialization, as other countries and regions have already obtained presence and market shares in the world.
This kind of high-level meetings present an opportune moment to talk about the role of e-commerce can play in fostering cooperation between China and Africa and driving the continent’s modern development.