July 17 - As the economy of Africa’s largest trading partner, China, slows down, analysts fear the raw materials exporter will be hit harder than expected. Joanna Partridge reports.
An economic machine - that's slowing down. China's GDP growth slowed in the second quarter to 7.5% year-on-year. Beijing expects the economy to grow by the same rate in 2013 - impressive anywhere else in the world, but China's slowest pace in 23 years. The impact will also be felt thousands of miles away in Africa, as China is the continent's biggest trading partner. Economic analyst Aly Khan Satchu says the effects may be even worse than expected. SOUNDBITE: Aly Khan Satchu, CEO at Rich Management, saying (English): "It is going to hit Africa quite hard, in particular those countries that have got a very deep trade relationship with China and they are not difficult to spot... like Angola, Zambia with the copper." Beijing wanted access to Africa's oil and minerals to feed its booming economy. In return, China's built roads, railways and pipelines. China's trade with the continent surged from about $10 billion in 2000, to $166 billion in 2011. In Africa, China has been seen as an important counterbalance to western influence. But as the relationship matures, there's growing discontent in Africa that it's exporting raw materials, while having to spend heavily to import consumer goods from the Asian powerhouse. And Africa has growth plans of its own. The Africa Development Bank expects the economy to expand by 5.4% in 2014. SOUNDBITE: Aly Khan Satchu, Economic Analyst, saying (English): "We are in this period of catch up that China did 10, 20 years ago, that India, Brazil all encountered a few years back. This is Africa's moment and I expect Africa... now Africa to grow quicker than China." As China's slowdown is likely to lead to falling demand for raw materials - analysts say the key for Africa will be to find ways to wean itself off its dependence on mining exports.