China is importing more food products such as avocados, cashews, sesame seeds and chili peppers from Africa, as agriculture emerges as the new focus of Beijing’s engagement with the continent. In the first two months of this year, Shanghai ports handled more than 40,000 tons of African agricultural products worth more than US$100 million, according to Shanghai Customs.
By March 3, a total of 1,845 tons of African sesame had been imported through Shanghai’s Waigaoqiao Port – 4.3 times more than in the same period last year, official data showed. Africa produces about 65 per cent of the world’s sesame, and Chinese officials say African countries including Mali, Togo, Mozambique, Niger, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Uganda account for 90 per cent of China’s imports of the product.
A growing number of African products are in high demand in China as part of Beijing’s broader strategy to implement President Xi Jinping’s promise to increase non-resource imports from Africa.