Xinhua News Agency, Nairobi, September 25 (International Observation) Digital economy has become a new highlight of China-Africa economic and trade cooperation under the epidemic

  Xinhua News Agency reporter

  Affected by the new crown epidemic, African countries are eager to accelerate digital transformation, ease the impact of the epidemic, and provide impetus to economic recovery.

Some experts and business representatives believe that as China-Africa cooperation continues to escalate and more and more Chinese companies take root in Africa, China-Africa digital economic cooperation will blossom in more areas, which will help the rapid development of Africa's Internet economy.

Boost recovery

  PayFast, the largest local online payment platform in South Africa, said that during the epidemic, South Africans' mobile phone online shopping orders increased significantly. From March 2020 to February 2021, the volume of mobile payment transactions processed by PayFast increased by 143% year-on-year.

  Kenyan telecom operator Safali Communications said that during the epidemic, the demand for online office, online classroom and online entertainment increased, and the amount of information related to the epidemic on the Internet increased.

From April 2020 to March 2021, the company's 4G mobile phone and fiber-to-the-home subscribers both increased by more than 40% year-on-year.

  The digital economy has penetrated into the daily lives of many African residents.

A recent survey of 2,456 residents of Kenya by an international consulting company found that 84% of the respondents said that digital devices and digital services have made their lives better, and nearly one-third said that the digital economy has helped them increase their incomes.

  The "2020 Africa Digital Economy Report" jointly released by the World Bank Group's IFC and Google Inc. predicts that by 2025, the African Internet economy is expected to reach 180 billion U.S. dollars, accounting for 5.2% of the African continent's gross domestic product (GDP) .

The report said that although the epidemic will put pressure on Africa's development in the next five years, the robust Internet economy will promote economic growth in Africa.

Highlights frequently

  In recent years, the digital economy has become a new direction for China to help Africa develop.

Under the epidemic, e-commerce and financial technology supported by Chinese companies with technology and experience have become important tools to promote the economic recovery of African countries.

  In June of this year, Cainiao, a logistics company under the Alibaba Group, opened the first China-Africa cross-border parcel line, which greatly improved the timeliness of China-Africa cross-border parcel logistics.

Xiong Wei, general manager of the export logistics division of Cainiao, said that China-Africa cross-border e-commerce and cross-border trade are growing rapidly, and the logistics market has huge potential.

  Kilimall, the e-commerce platform of Changsha Feituo Information Technology Co., Ltd., was established in 2014 and is one of the major e-commerce companies in East Africa.

Since the outbreak of the epidemic, Kilimall e-commerce transactions have shown rapid growth.

Kilimall Marketing Manager Lu Xiaoyong said that many African countries produce high-quality agricultural products, which will be sold to the Chinese market through China-Africa e-commerce "reverse trade" in the future, which will mutually benefit the people of both sides. There is huge potential for China-Africa agricultural cooperation.

  Huang Meibo, dean of the Institute of International Development Cooperation of Shanghai University of International Business and Economics, told Xinhua News Agency that in the field of digital economy in Africa, Chinese companies occupy a considerable market share.

China-Africa cooperation in the digital economy has entered all aspects and plays an important role in Africa's connectivity.

bright future

  Observers generally believe that, relying on the construction of the African Continental Free Trade Zone, the China-Africa Cooperation Forum and the “Belt and Road” construction, China-Africa economic and trade cooperation will reach a new level, and China-Africa digital cooperation will take advantage of the momentum.

  African Union Infrastructure and Energy Commissioner Abu-Zaid Amani said that Africa looks forward to strengthening digital economic cooperation with China, helping interconnection and promoting African economic integration.

  In an exclusive interview with a reporter from Xinhua News Agency, a person in charge of an African financial technology company said: "From the perspective of the digital economy, especially in terms of payment and related technologies, China is leading the way. We can learn a lot from China. It is of vital importance to Africa. The digital economy is a great opportunity for cooperation."

  Huang Meibo suggested that the future development of Africa's digital economy should focus on promoting the digital transformation of industries, improving Africa's digital technology capabilities, and cultivating Africa's digital innovation ecosystem.

She said that China-Africa digital economic cooperation as a whole presents complementary advantages, with wide cooperation space and great potential.

In the long run, Africa is expected to become one of the most attractive digital markets in the world.

  Yao Guimei, a researcher at the China African Research Institute, wrote a few days ago that the free trade zone on the African continent officially launched this year covers a wide range, and African countries are also vigorously expanding new industries and new fields such as mobile communications, digital economy, finance, and smart cities. This is relevant for China. Enterprises bring new opportunities.

In the future, the digital economy will surely become a new highlight of China-Africa cooperation.

(Notewriter: Ding Lei; Participating reporters: Guo Jun, Jing Jing, Wang Ping, Lu Tianran)