China-Africa trade reaches $282 billion in 2023, yet widening trade deficit in Africa, attributed to commodity price influences.

In 2023, China’s total trade with Africa experienced a modest 1.5% growth, reaching $282.1 billion. However, the trade deficit for Africa with China expanded, as Chinese exports to the continent increased by 7.5% to $173 billion, while imports from Africa decreased by 6.7% to $109 billion. Despite setting a record with a $100 million year-on-year increase in bilateral trade, Africa’s trade deficit with China continued to widen, escalating from $46.9 billion in 2022 to $64 billion in the past year, as per data from the General Administration of Customs.

Trade officials in Beijing emphasized China’s longstanding position as Africa’s largest trading partner for 15 consecutive years, despite facing challenges. The officials, including Jiang Wei, head of the commerce ministry’s West Asian and African affairs department, highlighted the 1.5% growth in China-Africa trade as a testament to its robust resilience. Observers noted that this modest growth aligns with China’s overall trade patterns amid economic challenges, such as weak business and consumer confidence, tepid global demand, a property crisis, and concerns about local government debt limiting economic stimulation capabilities.