“I’m Chinese” – Story of Foreign Volunteer in Beijing

People can always recognize her at a glance, perhaps because of her curly hair and dark skin, or perhaps because of her nice eyes, which always sparkled with friendliness and enthusiasm.

“Have you taken the nucleic acid testing?” “You are so beautiful today!” She greeted everyone loudly in fluent Chinese, and her cheerful voice shuttled through the crowd.

In 2007, Mariatu Kargbo came to China from Sierra Leone and was well-known to Chinese audiences for participating in a TV show. Later, she won the Miss World double championship and was known as the “Black Pearl”.
Fifteen years later, Mariatu Kargbo has long regarded China as her second home. She has never been stingy with kindness. She has traveled to the earthquake-stricken areas many times for rescue and donated money to poor children. In 2019, she moved to Dongrun Fengjing Community in Beijing. Whenever the epidemic situation got severe, Mariatu Kargbo took the initiative to contact the community for volunteer work.
In Mariatu Kargbo’s opinion, she is just an ordinary person. She believes in the power of sincerity: “As long as we work hard, we will be rewarded.”

“I just want to continue”

When some people got impatient waiting in the queue and complained to the volunteers, Mariatu Kargbo would come over to comfort: “You are very beautiful!”. Some people tried to cut the line, and argued after being stopped, Mariatu Kargbo would try to make them calm down: “Bro , you don’t look good when you are angry, but you look great when you laugh.” She could always resolve conflicts in her own unique way.
Since May 2, Mariatu Kargbo has been helping at the nucleic acid testing site at Dongfengnan Residential Compound in Dongrun Fengjing Community.
In fact, she lived in another residential compound nearby, but as the  Dongfengnan Residential Compound is old, some elderly people need to be helped. It was very inconvenient for them to go up and downstairs for nucleic acid testing. Some volunteers were also in senior age. Mariatu Kargbo, 32 years old, therefore took the initiative to request to join the volunteer team of Dongfengnan Residential Compound.

Every day, together with more than a dozen community committee workers and volunteers, she worked for more than 1,600 residents. When the weather was hot, some community committee worker cooked mung bean soup for volunteers. Mariatu Kargbo walked to various testing sites with a large pot on her head, and delivered the soup to the volunteers.

Community staff told Mariatu Kargbo that volunteers could take a day or two off, but she never stopped showing up at the nucleic acid testing site on time at noon every day to help with various tasks.

Mariatu Kargbo pushed the wheelchair for the elderly who came to take nucleic acid testing

When there were elderly people who got difficulty moving, she would help them and send them upstairs; when she saw that the nucleic acid testing materials were running out, Mariatu Kargbo would rush to notify the community staff; when the work was about to end, she always joined the volunteers to take the initiative for cleaning up medical waste and supplies. Whenever someone greeted her to stop her work and do something else, she would rush to ask: “How long will it take? I’m going back to work, and I don’t want to stop.”
“Mariatu Kargbo’s participation in volunteering is not pretending, she is very diligent every day and will stick to it until the end,” said the community worker.

“It is happiness for me.”

This is not the first time Mariatu Kargbo has volunteered in China. The earliest experience can be traced back to the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake.
Mariatu Kargbo was performing in China at that time, and she heard someone talking about the earthquake. As soon as the performance was over, she took her luggage and rushed to Sichuan to participate in the rescue, becoming one of the first batch of foreigners to arrive in the earthquake area.
During the three weeks in the earthquake zone, Mariatu Kargbo helped rescue teams search for elderly people buried under the rubble, and sang to comfort children who did not want to have their legs amputated. In the most challenging time, she walked with the team for 5 hours, carrying 10 kilograms of supplies over the mountains to find people, deliver medicine, and comfort the wounded. Later, since she got ill, she had to go back to Beijing for medical treatment, but she firmly rejected being hospitalized. “I said I would go back to Sichuan, because I had done a lot of work before. Many people were willing to take medicine and see a doctor because of my encouragement. The staff in the hospital knew me, and some people even invited me to comfort patients. When patients got anxious, they would persuade them, ‘Let’s get Mariatu Kargbo’.”

Mariatu Kargbo volunteering in the area after earthquake.

Two weeks later, Mariatu Kargbo returned to the quake zone again, staying for a month to raise money for children there. During the Yushu earthquake in 2010, Mariatu Kargbo went to the earthquake area again to participate in volunteer services. She hoped to help more people: “This is my greatest joy.”

Mariatu Kargbo with children in the area hit by the earthquake 

Some people disagreed with Mariatu Kargbo’s approach. “I was scolded by people who said I was here to make money and bring it back to Africa.” But Mariatu Kargbo knew that China meant a lot to her.
In 2004, when Mariatu Kargbo came to China for the first time, she suffered from an acute illness and she could not speak Chinese at all. A woman she did not know sent her to the hospital and helped her pay for the surgery, which made Mariatu Kargbo, who had lost her parents since childhood, felt the warmth of home.
She always remembered this kindness and decided to live in China. Over the past ten years, she has made many Chinese friends, continued to learn the language, and was active in the field of public welfare, becoming a model, singer and actress.

In 2020, Mariatu Kargbo volunteered to measure the temperature of community residents

During the 2020 epidemic, Mariatu Kargbo assisted security guards to scan health codes, measure temperature and register at the gate of the community. Mariatu Kargbo always greeted residents in a friendly way, and sometimes she cooked food for the staff, hoping to relieve their fatigue. And she was named as an “Honorary Resident” of Dongrun Fengjing Community in the year.

On May 2, 2022, when Mariatu Kargbo learned that the community needed manpower again, she took the initiative to ask to be a volunteer, wanting to contribute to the home where she has lived for nearly 3 years. As of May 21st, Mariatu Kargbo has participated in more than ten rounds of nucleic acid testing volunteer services.

“Give me an hour and people will like me for sure”

Mariatu Kargbo always feels that volunteering is “happy work”.
She never posted these experiences on social platforms, nor did she take the initiative to tell her family and friends.

 “After the recent COVID outbreak, many people asked me how I was. I just sent them the photos and said I was working. They asked me if I was afraid and told me, ‘You need to protect yourself!’ My family and some friends didn’t support me on being a volunteer.” Mariatu Kargbo always replied :”Don’t worry, we were all fine, the epidemic would pass sooner or later. The elderly here need my help, why should I stay at home? People would leave the world someday, but kindness will stay.”

Kindness doesn’t always get paid off, and many residents rejected her when they didn’t know her. Mariatu Kargbo understood this indifference. She had been to many places and was rejected by many people because of her status as a foreigner: “The culture background and ideas of each other are different, and we need time to adjust.”
An old man was not in good health. Once he wore the mask for long time, he would gasp for breath. Whenever Mariatu Kargbo saw him, she always ran to take care of him. Half a month later, the old man seemed to have recovered a lot. “She told me a lot of things from her heart.” Mariatu Kargbo believed that her sincerity would always move others: “Give me an hour and people will definitely like me, because I am sincere. Although I am a foreigner, I have a ‘Chinese heart’. As long as people gradually knew me, they would change their attitude towards me. Sooner or later, our estrangement would be resolved by love.”

A staff member and Mariatu Kargbo treated wounded residents


On May 13, Mariatu Kargbo cancelled her own birthday party and still volunteered on time. Gao Qiang, Secretary of the Community Committee, presented Mariatu Kargbo with a bouquet of flowers and birthday wishes.

Despite only working together for short time, some communities workers and volunteers have already treated Mariatu Kargbo like a family member.
Mariatu Kargbo also considered them as family members in the same way. She knew that social work was not easy. Some people worked late into the night, some did not rest even when they were sick, and some people kept working even in isolation.

Mariatu Kargbo (second from left in the front row) took a group photo with all the staff of Dongrun Fengjing Community

These actions deeply moved Mariatu Kargbo, and she also expressed her love in her own way.

Mariatu Kargbo will have to go back to Sierra Leone at the end of May for personal reason, she will stay in Africa for a year, or maybe a little longer. She cried sadly: “I haven’t left China for 5 years, and I have never been away for so long. The longest time was only 20 days before.”


“I am an ordinary person.” Mariatu Kargbo explained: “When I first came to China, I had no money and no family. But now I have brothers and sisters in the community, uncles and aunts… So many people have helped me, I should help them too. China is my home and I believe the future will be better.”

As one of the “Best Foreign Volunteers”, Mariatu Kargbo was invited to the conference in 2020 at the Great Hall of the People.

Morocco imports 1 million Chinese pneumococcal vaccines

Morocco imports 1 million Chinese pneumococcal vaccines

On May 21, a million doses of the pneumococcal polysaccharide conjugate vaccine manufactured by the Chinese company Walfax were shipped to Morocco from Yunnan Province in southwest China.

In 2019, the vaccine was given marketing approval. It is China’s first 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccination and the world’s second. It can be given to children as young as six weeks old to prevent infectious infections caused by the 13 pneumococci serotypes included in the vaccine.

​The Moroccan company “Marocvachs” imported this batch of vaccines, which contains one million doses. To protect millions of Moroccan children from life-threatening infections, the pneumococcal conjugate vaccination was included in the Expanded Program on Immunization. Marocfacs will purchase two million doses per year for the next five years under the distribution deal.

​Author: Hanane Thamik is currently a Ph.D. scholar at the School of Information Management, Wuhan University, simultaneously a member of the Morocco-China Friendship Exchange Association, the author of CGTN Africa, Africa-China Review and the Canadian magazine ( Etats de splendeur ). She was chosen as Morocco’s youth representative for the Belt and Road initiative by the Moroccan embassy in China, the Arab youth participant in the 9th Ministerial Meeting of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum 2020, the Ambassador of Wuhan City to the world by Changjiang Weekly Magazine, and the Moroccan Youth Representative 2020 (FOCAC, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs). She also won the awards of the Belt and Road Tourism ambassador 2019, the Outstanding African Student in China 2018, the Cultural Achievement Award by UNESCO, the Wuhan University Outstanding International Students award 2019 and 2021, the Maotai scholarship “Excellent academic performance and outstanding overall performance 2019 and 2021,” the outstanding individual among international students fighting novel coronavirus pneumonia 2020, the only Moroccan winner of the essay contest named “experience China -our anti-epidemic story” 2020 (China Scholarship Council), the Chinese Government Outstanding International Student in China 2020 ( China Scholarship Council ),  the winner of the 5th “My Beautiful Encounter with China” essay contest for international students in China, and recently the first prize of the competition of the 37th Chu Cai Composition Competition. She was one of the successful 54 young people worldwide who has been selected to participate in a training program organized by the United Nations in Switzerland 2019. She has also more than 20 publications among them the United Nations Geneva 2019 report and Peking University 5000-mile reports 2020 and 2021 which were handed to high-ranking officials at the Ministry of Foreign affairs in Beijing.

China’s Sinosteel receives green light to exploit iron ore in Cameroon

China’s Sinosteel receives green light to exploit iron ore in Cameroon

Gabriel Dodo Ndoke, Cameroon’s Minister of Mines, Industry, and Technological Development, and Zheng Zhenghao, General Manager of Sinosteel Cam S.A., signed a convention that enables the company to exploit the Lobe iron ore deposit located in the Southern part of Cameroon. The convention was signed during a ceremony that took place on Friday, May 6th, at the Congress Hall in Cameroon’s capital city Yaoundé.

Sinosteel Cam S.A., the Cameroonian subsidiary of China’s Sinosteel Corporation Ltd, will inject more than 700 million dollars into the project, official Chinese media have reported. The company seeks to extract 10 million tons of ore per year at 33 percent iron and projects that the subsequent enrichment of that amount of ore will yield four million tons of high-grade iron at more than 60 percent iron. The total amount of reserves of the Lobe iron ore deposit is estimated at 632,8 million tons and the exploitation will span over a period of 50 years.

The project also entails developing an iron ore beneficiation plant, establishing a mineral terminal to sell the iron on the international market, building a 20-kilometers pipeline that will enable the transportation of iron ore to the terminal, and developing an energy production unit for the project, official Chinese media have reported.

Expected benefits for Cameroon’s economy

It is predicted that the Central African country will receive an estimate of 36 million US dollars as revenue from this project every year. The project should also result in the creation of 600 direct jobs and more than 1000 indirect jobs. In addition, it will also enable skills and technology transfer as well as the development of infrastructures in the area of the country in which it will be implemented. Moreover, this project is expected to boost Cameroon’s iron and steel industry.

Africa Should Rally Behind China’s Global Security Initiative

Africa Should Rally Behind China’s Global Security Initiative

As the rampage of insurgencies become the leading source of instability on the continent, Africa is correctly positioned to benefit enormously from the Global Security Initiative recently proposed by the Chinese President Xi Jinping.

President Xi spoke about “Rising to challenges and building a bright future through co-operation” in his keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2022.

The ceremony was held under the theme, “The World in Covid-19 and Beyond: Working Together for Global Development and Shared Future.”

This article delves into the main tenets of President Xi’s speech, particularly zeroing in on the Global Security Initiative, as an architecture that will help to bring about world peace and stability and look at how Africa as a continent and Zimbabwe in particular can benefit from the initiative.

What is President Xi proposing?

President Xi proposed the Global Security Initiative which provides important architectural and conceptual guidelines which can help enhance the world’s security governance systems and put security on top as a precondition for development.

President Xi said “security is a precondition for development” and it is for this reason, that he proposed the initiative.

“It is important that we stay committed to the vision of common, comprehensive, co-operative and sustainable security and work together to maintain world peace and security, stay committed to respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries, uphold non-interference in internal affairs and respect the independent choices of development paths and social systems made by people in different countries,” he said.

In Africa, there are a lot of challenges being faced by the continent, ranging from terrorism, ethnic wars, inept political leadership and insurgencies among many others.

Right now in Southern Africa, there is the burning issue of the terrorist insurgency in Mozambique which is threatening Zimbabwe and other countries in the region.

With the GSI in place, African countries that are directly affected by the political instability in neighbouring Mozambique can be able to work together to fight terrorism and bring peace and stability in the region.

“Stay committed to abiding by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, reject the cold war mentality, oppose unilateralism and say not to group politics and bloc confrontation. Stay committed to taking the legitimate security concerns of all countries seriously,” President Xi.

“Uphold the principle of indivisible security, build a balanced, effective and sustainable security architecture and oppose the pursuit of one’s own security at the cost of others security.”

The Global Security Initiative also focused on coming up with rational alternative means of solving disputes between world countries while denouncing double standards by other world super powers.

“Stay committed to peacefully resolving differences and disputes between countries through dialogue and consultation, support all efforts conducive to the peaceful settlement of crises, reject double standards and oppose the wanton use of unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction,” he said.

“Stay committed to maintaining security in both traditional and non-traditional domains and work together on regional disputes and global challenges such as terrorism, climate change, cybersecurity and biosecurity.”

A simple example can be drawn from the current conflict between Russia and Ukraine which has made it pretty clear that when there is instability in the world, it is impossible for development to manifest.

The US has been criticised for exhibiting double standards in how it has coerced other world powers to condemn Russia and impose destructive sanctions on the country yet it is one country that has been directly or indirectly involved in many separate military conflicts all over the world.

As much as the current instability in Europe between Russia and Ukraine did not affect Zimbabwe physically, but its ripple effects have been felt economically in the form of rising commodity prices, inflation and energy shortages.

The GSI by President Xi also called for the upholding and respect of sovereignty of individual countries and non-interference in internal affairs.

“Stay committed to respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries, uphold non-interference in internal affairs and respect the independent choices of development paths and social systems made by people in different countries,” said President Xi.

Tackling global governance challenges

President Xi equated the international community to an integrated unit, which when you remove a single part it is tantamount to causing a malfunction, adding that unilateralism and excessive pursuit of self-interest are ‘doomed to fail’.

“In today’s world, unilateralism and excessive pursuit of self-interest are doomed to fail, so are the practices of decoupling, supply disruption and maximum pressure,” he said. “So are attempts to forge ‘small circles’ or to stoke conflict and confrontation along ideological lines.

“Instead, we need to embrace a global governance philosophy that emphasises extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, promote the common values of humanity and advocate exchanges and mutual learning between civilizations.

“We need to uphold true multilateralism and firmly safeguard the international system with the UN at its core and the international order underpinned by international law.

It is particularly important for major countries to lead by example in honouring equality, co-operation, good faith and the rule of law and act in a way befitting their status.”

Why Africa and Zimbabwe should support the Global Security Initiative

By having a well outlined global security architecture that is balanced, it will bring about stability and development co-operation for many countries on the African continent.

Political instability, terrorism, insurgencies and socio-political unity which are some of the main causes of conflict in Africa can be easily addressed by carefully applying the stipulations provided for by China’s Global Security Initiative.

The GSI proposed the upholding of sovereignty of individual nations and discouraging interference in internal matters.

Such a proposition is something that can benefit Zimbabwe in particular.

The country has been under illegal sanctions imposed by the West and the US has tried so much to sponsor regime change in the country as a way of trying to remove a democratically elected government.

The insurgency in neighbouring Mozambique threatens peace and stability in the region and with President Xi’s proposal through the Global Security Initiative, countries can be able to work collectively and combat terrorism which will bring peace in the region and the continent at large.

Author : Hanane Thamik

Commissioning of the Myohaung Officer’s Mess at Wilberforce

Commissioning of the Myohaung Officer’s Mess at Wilberforce


The President of the Republic of SierraLeone Dr Julius Maada Bio is currently commissioning the Myohaung Officer’s Mess at Wilberforce.

This project is a result of a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Government of SierraLeone and the People’s Republic China, PRC, that included Military aid grants to the value of 50Million Yuan ($7.2 Million US Dollars) for the construction of a five-storey building comprising 104 rooms with all modern facilities for single officers.

The President will also turn sod for the construction of the warrant officers’ and sergeants’ Mess at Wilberforce Barracks, Freetown.

More details later.

Chinese companies to provide at least 20 000 jobs for South Africans by 2025

Chinese companies to provide at least 20 000 jobs for South Africans by 2025

Photo credit: Facebook Page of the Chinese Embassy in South Africa

More than 100 Chinese companies have committed to offering 20 000 jobs to South Africans in the next three years.  The Chinese Ambassador to South Africa, Ambassador Chen Xiaodong, said in a keynote address that he gave last Thursday at the 2022 Job Fair of Chinese-invested Enterprises in South Africa, which was held in Johannesburg.  He added that these opportunities cover different sectors, including infrastructure, communications, mining, automobile, and agriculture.

Organized by the South Africa-China Economy and Trade Association (SACETA), the Job Fair of Chinese-invested Enterprises in South Africa is an annual event aimed at creating employment opportunities for South Africans. According to a report by the Chinese Embassy in South Africa, nearly 1300 people participated in this year’s fair among which were local students and job seekers. The participating Chinese companies were expected to offer 1000 jobs to local applicants during the event, local media reported.

Job creation, however, is only one of many means that China and South Africa plan to work on to boost employment in the African country. Some measures have also been implemented to develop the South African human capital. “China is ready to speed up the building of vocational training center projects. We are ready to provide employment assistance programs for college graduates and other special groups. We will also encourage Chinese enterprises to cultivate more competent professionals through the transfer of technology and skills training for local employees,” Ambassador Chen said.

Reducing unemployment in South Africa

Currently, unemployment is one of the main issues of concern among South Africans. Indeed, according to data released by Statistics South Africa last month, the unemployment rate in South Africa reached a record high of 35.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2021, one of the world’s highest. South African officials have therefore welcomed Chinese companies’ commitment to hiring more South Africans. “On behalf of our government, I wish to express our gratitude to the people of China for this important gesture which will undoubtedly contribute to our efforts to reduce the current 35.3 percent unemployment rate,” South African Employment and Labor Minister, Thulas Nxesi, said during the event.

According to Ambassador Chen, Chinese companies’ investments in South Africa have so far significantly benefitted South Africa’s job market. “South Africa is also one of the largest investment destinations for Chinese companies in Africa. By the end of 2021, China’s investment in South Africa totaled over 25 billion US dollars, which created over 400,000 local jobs,” he said.

Providing more opportunities for South African workers in Chinese companies

Chinese companies, however, have often been criticized for not hiring enough local employees in Africa in general and South Africa in particular. Earlier this year, several media reports discussed a court action that the South African government started against Huawei’s local subsidiary for not complying with the country’s employment policies. Such policies require that not more than 40 percent of the total employees of a company be foreign workers. Yet, foreign workers made up 90 percent of the total employees of Huawei’s local unit. The Chinese tech giant then announced that it would increase its local hires and ensure South Africans make up 50 percent of its staff by 2025.

In his address, Ambassador Chen pointed out that Huawei was among the 100 companies that pledged to provide more jobs to locals and is expected to offer 450 jobs to South Africans in the next three years. He also highlighted Chinese companies’ commitment to fulfilling their social responsibilities and following local laws and regulations.

Chinese company kicks off road project construction in Ghana

Chinese company kicks off road project construction in Ghana

An inner-city road project contracted by a Chinese company kicked off in Kumasi, Ghana’s second-largest city.

The 100 km project undertaken by SinohydroCorporation Limited includes drainage work, earthwork, and bituminous surfacing of the roads, which is expected to improve the road networks and facilitate transportation within the city.

Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony, Ghanaian Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia expressed joy that the Kumasi inner-city road project could begin on time.

“We are grateful to the Chinese government for the cooperation that has existed between our two countries. There is still more to come under our mutual cooperation,” Bawumia said.

Chinese Ambassador to Ghana Lu Kun commended the Ghanaian and Chinese engineers for sticking to their posts and carrying out excellent preparation for the start of the project, despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I firmly believe that, with Chinese and Ghanaians joining hands, and with your wisdom and diligence, the project will surely witness a speedy and quality progress,” said Lu.

Chinese-built Nelson Mandela Toll Bridge officially inaugurated in Senegal

Chinese-built Nelson Mandela Toll Bridge officially inaugurated in Senegal

On Saturday, March 26, Senegalese President Macky Sall officially inaugurated the Foundiougne Bridge, the longest of its kind in the West African country. The 1.6 kilometer-bridge, which was named after former South African President Nelson Mandela, stretches over the Saloum River and connects the cities of Fatick and Foundiougne. The Nelson Mandela Toll Bridge should shorten the journey and reduce the cost of travel from the northern and central parts of the country to the southern natural region known as the Casamance. It should also promote the exchange of goods and people between Dakar and Banjul in The Gambia. In addition, the natural regions of Casamance and Sine-Saloum (in which Foundiougne is located) will reap various benefits from this new bridge. These include increased economic, cultural, and touristic activities as well as improved access to education and health.

A step towards realizing the Emerging Senegal Plan

According to a document that Senegal’s government information office released to the press ahead of the inauguration ceremony, the construction of the Nelson Mandela Toll Bridge was carried out as part of the ambitious program President Macky Sall initiated for the modernization and development of infrastructures in the country. Infrastructure development and modernization is a key priority in the Emerging Senegal Plan as it is considered essential for the structural transformation of the Senegalese economy.

In addition to highlighting these positive economic and social implications of the new bridge for his country, President Macky Sall also expressed gratitude for China’s support in realizing this project.

China supports Senegal’s infrastructure development

Chinese Ambassador to Senegal Xiao Han, who was also present at the inauguration ceremony of the bridge, wrote in an opinion piece that “the magnificent Foundiougne Bridge is not only a steel bridge by our side but also a bridge of friendship in our hearts, which connects the Chinese and Senegalese peoples.”

The construction of the Nelson Mandela Toll Bridge started in February 2018. A total of US$ 77 million were injected into this project, which was jointly funded by the Government of Senegal and the People’s Republic of China through its Export-Import Bank. The construction work was carried out by the Chinese company China Henan International Cooperation Group.

Moreover, Senegal has launched several other infrastructural projects intending to help the country reach emergence by 2035. As Ambassador Xiao Han pointed out, several of these infrastructural projects have seen the participation of China in terms of financing, construction, maintenance, and co-management.  A good example is the Ila Touba Toll Highway, which was financed by a Chinese loan and built by a Chinese company.kikk

Kakuzi gets Kephis’ clearance to export fresh avocados to China

Kakuzi gets Kephis’ clearance to export fresh avocados to China

Kenya’s Kakuzi has become one of the first companies in the country to receive the green light from the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (Kephis) to process, prepare and export fresh avocados to China. The agri-business firm made this announcement on Thursday after successfully passing a series of inspections by Kephis that landed them the approval. “At the Makuyu facility and Orchards, we maintain world-class phytosanitary standards for our exports to Europe, and the KEPHIS approval further serves to underscore our quality commitments.” Kakuzi Managing Director Chris Flowers said.

This news comes just weeks after China allowed fresh avocados from Kenya to enter its large market; a decision that has led several Kenyan firms, including Kakuzi, to seek to win a share in that lucrative market. According to a Business Daily article (https://www.businessdailyafrica.com/bd/corporate/companies/kakuzi-seeks-nod-for-china-avocado-exports-3751784), apart from Kakuzi, Kephis has audited nine other firms to assess the extent to which they meet the quality and safety standards to export fresh avocados to the Asian country. Approval from Kephis grants Kenyan companies the status of certified exporters of fresh avocados to China.

Paving the way for the export of fresh avocados to China

In April 2019, Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Kenyan counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta signed a deal to allow the export of Kenyan avocados and other horticultural products to China, making Kenya the first African country to export avocados to the Asian country. However, until early this year, Kenyan farmers and traders were required to freeze their crops before sending them to China. This requirement sought to prevent plant pathogens and pests commonly found in fresh avocados in Kenya from entering China. Because of the lack of appropriate facilities and limited resources, only one Kenyan firm out of 100 had the capacity to meet China’s export requirements resulting in an insignificant volume of frozen avocados exports to China since 2019.

China’s approval of the export of Kenya’s fresh avocados to its market is expected to boost the volume of avocados shipped to China, provided that avocado farmers and traders comply with strict phytosanitary regulations and meet the veterinary sanitary requirements.

Hopes for a reduced trade deficit

The decision to allow Kenyan fresh avocados into the Chinese market has been welcomed in Kenya as a means to increase Kenya’s export volume and therefore contribute to reducing the trade deficit Kenya has with China. According to Kenya’s National Bureau of Statistics, in 2021, Kenya imported about $3.9 billion worth of products from China while it exported a mere $131 million worth of products to the Asian country.

In 2021, Kenya was the top exporter of avocado among African countries and was featured in the top 10 producers in the world. When signing the deal with China in 2019, Kenyan officials were hoping to see the Chinese market absorb 40 percent of Kenya’s avocado produce. Such expectations, however, are far from being met due to China’s requirement to receive only frozen crops from Kenya. The approval of Kakuzi export of fresh avocados to China and the audit by Kephis of several other firms can be regarded as a step towards increased export of agricultural goods to China and towards reduced trade deficit with Beijing.

The Chinese Citic Dicastal puts the package in Morocco

The Chinese Citic Dicastal puts the package in Morocco

The project involves building an annual production line of 5 million compression cast aluminum parts, including automotive chassis spindle products in addition to aluminum rims, which Dicastal has been manufacturing for almost three years. This time Dicastal has decided to enrich its products to be manufactured in Morocco with new technology.

The Covid crisis has not got the better of Chinese investments in Morocco. A 3rd Dicastal factory has just been launched on Wednesday by the Minister of Industry and Trade, Ryad Mezzour, in the Kenitra free zone in the presence of the Chinese ambassador to Morocco. A kick-off was also marked by the signing by videoconference of an investment agreement with the Chinese headquarters of this large structure whose construction kick-off has also just been given.

As the government official explains, this investment is intended for “high-end parts that are also aimed at high-end vehicles”. In addition, the group is developing, as detailed by the Minister, its 3rd factory after “only 3 years of presence in Morocco”. “In the first two factories, it produces 6 million aluminum rims which it exports mainly to the United States”, continues Mr. Mezzour who highlights the production, today, of high-tech parts, chassis, and aluminum motors. These products will be, as he details, “exported mainly to Europe. They will be essential parts in high-end vehicles”. “This project will make it possible to employ 766 Moroccan men and women directly with an investment volume estimated at 2 billion DH”, advances the minister. For his part, the Chinese ambassador to Morocco, Li Changlin, said: “The Sino-Moroccan cooperation project Dicastal Morocco Africa, carried out by the Citic Dicastal group, is the largest of its kind that emerged after the visit in 2016 in China and the establishment of the strategic partnership between the two countries”. “Similarly, it is the largest Chinese investment in Africa,” adds the diplomat who recalls, in turn, the convention of the “Belt and Road” plan signed in January 2000 between the two countries. Better still, the Dicastal plant is, in his view, “the first major project since the signing of this document”.

Production of 5 million pieces per year

In this regard, the group’s vice president, Mei Xinglong, reveals from China that “the project is to build an annual production line of 5 million pieces of compression cast aluminum, in particular, the rocket products for automotive chassis in more aluminum rims than Dicastal has been making for almost three years. This time Dicastal has decided to enrich its products to be manufactured in Morocco with new technology”. And that’s not all! “The project will also serve to supply the European market,” he adds, hoping that this project would contribute to the development of the automotive sector in Morocco.

Creation of 766 new jobs

In addition to this new plant, two others were launched in 2019 and 2020 for the production of six million aluminum rims per year. For the time being, the investment of the Citic Dicastal group in Morocco has reached 350 million Euros, thus creating 1350 jobs. By 2022, the ministry with MedZ is launching the construction of the 3rd factory for the production of aluminum rims for 180 million Euros. Spread over an area of 20,000 m² in a 12-hectare site, this project called “Dika Morroco Castings – DMC” will provide Morocco, in six months from its first plant producing cast aluminum components for power trains and chassis. This project, with a production capacity of 10 million units, will be deployed in two phases and will create 766 new direct jobs. Even better, 90% of the parts will be for export.