Shanghai — China's economic powerhouse city, Shanghai, is looking to stabilize its import and export with African countries and at the same time expands cooperation, according to officials of the municipality's commission of commerce.
Existing statistics of trade and commerce between the continent and China's largest economic center show progress. Imports to 27 African countries including Liberia have increased by 3.25% over the last 10 months.
This is about US$46 billion, which exceeds the international average of the city's foreign trade, the officials said during a news conference with African journalists in the city on November 20.
Shanghai's exports to these 27 countries including Liberia, Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Ivory Coast, South Africa, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tanzania include textile, ships, automobile parts and steel products amongst others.
The rest of the 27 countries are: Mozambique, The Gambia, Gabon, Malawi, Togo, Rwanda, Mauritania, South Sudan, Sudan, Congo Republic, DR Congo, Cameroun, Mauritius, Botswana, Burundi and Uganda.
Meanwhile, in 2016, raw materials imported from the 27 African countries including iron ore, diamonds and cooper showed impressive figures, the commission's data shows.
Cooper amounted for 3.4 billion Yuan (about US$514 million); gold products, 2.78 billion Yuan (about US$420 million); Iron ore, 1.78 billion Yuan (about US$269 billion); and diamond amounted for over one billion Yuan (about US$150 million).
Feng Meng of the foreign economy department at Shanghai's commerce commission says trade with the 27 African nations has doubled over the past few years.
He said the city's exports to the continent have grown "more rapidly" than imports, but they are looking to keep it balanced.
"So we want to stabilize it; we want to stabilize import and exports more," he said.
"The city is planning to hold an international trade expo in November 2018 to enhance more international trade cooperation, which would include Africa".
Firms based in Shanghai have 79 investments in the 27 African countries amounting for US$350 million, the commission says.
Some of the investments include wall and floor tiles manufacturing company in Ghana; a US$28.5 million mining investment in Congo Republic, and a US$28 million steel manufacturing company in Nigeria amongst others.
There are also over 130 contractual projects implemented in Africa by Shanghai's firms between January and October 2017 valued US$294 million with a turnover of over US$4 million.
A US$235 million power plant project in South Sudan, electricity project in Congo worth over US$163 million and a US$300 million housing project in Tanzania are amongst the major ones.
The city is confident that its relationship with Africa has a bright future through people-to-people exchange.
This year alone, the city says it organized training courses for over 500 African students and diplomats.
The commission of commerce suggests that more visits by African entrepreneurs and diplomats to the city would strengthen bonds and deepen cooperation.
"By doing so we could find more opportunities for cooperation and business," said Shi Chen of the division of development and investment.
"There should be more promotional events by Africans in Shanghai. Africans should give information about their countries so we can know more about them."
Shanghai already enjoys sister-city relationship and cooperation with several African cities including Alexandra in Egypt, Windhoek in Namibia, Johannesburg in South Africa and Maputo in Mozambique.
Since China's reform and opening-up was introduced in the late 1970s, Shanghai continues to boom economically.
Many foreign firms have massive presence in the area making the city with a population of over 24 million people, one of the world's largest economic centers.
Currently, 50 percent of foreign banks in China are based in the city; it also hosts 550 regional headquarters of international firms.
Its sea and airports are amongst the busiest in the world. The two international airports recorded over 100 million passengers in 2016.
In 2016, the city's GDP totaled over 2.7 trillion Yuan (about US$414 billion), up by 6.8% with per capital of U$17,105, up by 0.3% from the previous year.
The city amounts for 11.8% of China's total GDP, which is the second largest in the world.