The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement takes effect this Thursday. According to the Chinese ambassador to the African Union (AU), it will help forge closer economic and trade ties with China.
China welcomes progress in building the free trade area, support Africa to advance interconnectivity and is ready to work with Africa to promote the free trade regime, said Liu Yuxi, head of the Chinese Mission to the AU: "Unimpeded trade and facilities connectivity are the core content of the joint construction of the Belt and Road by China and Africa," Liu said, adding that "the two sides are expected to build closer economic and trade ties by developing the free trade area and promoting the Belt and Road cooperation."
China has been Africa's biggest trading partner for 10 consecutive years, with an accumulated investment of over 110 billion U.S. dollars in the continent.
Positive results have been achieved in the joint construction of the Belt and Road in recent years. China has signed memorandums of understanding with 39 African countries and the AU Commission. Cooperation with China has substantially advanced Africa's economic and social development.
The Belt and Road Initiative, proposed by China in 2013, refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road which are designed to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe, Africa and beyond.