By David Musyoka
NAIROBI, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) -- Africa is in a better position to use its partnership with China to access resources arising from growing trade and diplomatic relations to strengthen growth and resilience of African economies, according to a senior IMF official.
Director of the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) African Department Antoinette Monsio Sayeh said Africa should use resources from China to build sustainable economic growth that will lead to strong economies of the future.
"It is tremendous opportunity for the continent. What is important is that these resources from China are managed in a transparent manner," Sayeh told Xinhua in an interview in the Kenyan capital Nairobi on Monday.
China is the biggest single country trade partner with Africa, accounting for 15 percent of all exports from the region according to the IMF. Bilateral trade has been growing at an average pace of 33.6 percent per year for the past 10 years.
"This in itself indicates the importance of China-Africa relations and the opportunity they offer for the continent to consolidate its economic growth," she said.
She said Africa should be able to evaluate proposals from China and adopt those that are fair based on each of the country's development needs.
The IMF official said Africa can win more from China if the continent improves its infrastructure and implements policies that make it easier to do business in the continent.
"What the Chinese partners also need is better infrastructure and smoothening of trade issues in the continent just like other foreign investors coming to Africa," she said.
Trade between China and Africa hit 160 billion U. S. dollars in 2011, up 28 percent from the previous year, according to the most recent data released by the Kenyan Ministry of Commerce.
Independent estimates put the value of trade at 200 billion dollars this year.
But the IMF said the projection may be affected by China's own economic slowdown that will affect the level of its imports from Africa and amount of foreign direct investments and credit to the region.
"Because of deepening trade linkages with sub-Saharan Africa that has been increasing fast in the past several years, for the medium term, a potential sharp slowdown in China would also affect the region adversely," said the IMF in the World Economic Outlook report released in the past week.
But earlier commitments by China, including a 20-billion-dollar credit line to Africa in the next three years announced in July will caution the expected decline in imports by China from Africa and enable African countries to keep the pace of financing its social infrastructure projects.