African commerce welcomes new steps – World

Travelers wait to go through immigration checkpoints in Beijing Capital International Airport on Sunday. Under China’s optimized COVID-19 response policy, passengers arriving from overseas are no longer required to undergo quarantine and nucleic acid testing. ZOU HONG/CHINA DAILY

African traders have welcomed China’s changes to its COVID-19 response measures, including no longer subjecting incoming visitors to quarantine, effective January 8, in hopes of a boost in bilateral trade.

Victorina Oningo, a Kenyan who lives in Qatar but imports spare parts from China to Kenya, said China’s move to facilitate international travel is a big boost to her business.

Oningo, who is in Kenya to celebrate the new year with her family, said the pandemic has affected her business for the past three years, so she was happy to hear about the changes.

“Things are looking up for those of us who rely on travel to China to secure our supplies.”

Thadeus Musoke Nagenda, chairman of the Kampala City Traders Association in Kampala, Uganda, said the news that travelers to China will no longer have to go into quarantine when they arrive in the country is exciting for business people.

“We are happy that our traders will finally be traveling to China after a long time. This will make trade between the two countries easy.”

Boost trade

It will boost trade between Uganda and one of its major trading partners, he said.

In Togo, news of China’s new COVID-19 response measures has been warmly welcomed by local traders. According to Togolese Television, the country’s state broadcaster, there has been an increase in the number of calls in the country to inquire about traveling abroad to China.

“People want to go to China,” Togolese Television reported. “More courageous traders are already planning to make the expected trip to China, and we believe they will open the way for other traders who may be hesitant about the new rules.”

Togo will import goods from China worth $442 million in 2020, the World Bank says.

China has been Africa’s largest trading partner since overtaking the United States in 2009. China is also a major investor on the continent, funding major infrastructure projects as part of the Belt and Road Initiative.

In 2020 China took strict measures to control and prevent COVID-19. Visitors had to quarantine in designated hotels for two weeks, followed by home quarantine. These and other control measures have now been removed.

On Wednesday, responding to China’s easing of restrictions, Kenya’s Health Cabinet Secretary, Susan Nakhumicha, said her country had no plans for new measures for passengers traveling to Kenya from China, saying that such a move would harm the economy.

“In my opinion, I don’t think it will be necessary for us to impose any travel restrictions on travelers from China.”

Kenya is recovering economically, she said, “so I will not rush to impose any restrictions, but my call to Kenyans is that they should continue with vaccines for those who have not been vaccinated”.

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