View from Beijing: How the COVID-19 crisis is impacting China-Africa trade


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So far, Africa has not seen an outbreak of the deadly COVID-19 that has killed more than 1,000 people in China, and infected tens of thousands across the country. However, the impact from a contagion half a world away is causing economic distress in a growing number of African countries.

With most Chinese factories idled, demand for raw materials used for industrial production has plummeted. Similarly, with most flights between the two regions canceled, African farmers have to find other ways to get their perishable goods to China. And the supply chains for everything from cell phones to cement along with countless other products that Africans import from China have all been disrupted.

A lot of businesses, in both China and Africa, are wondering what’s going to happen and what it will take to get trade moving again.

Walter Ruigu is fielding those same questions every day from his office in Beijing, where his clients in half a dozen African countries are eagerly trying to get their orders out of China.

Walter is the managing director of the global trading firm CAMAL Group. In this episode, he joins Eric to discuss how the burgeoning COVID-19 crisis is impacting China-Africa trade and why he’s optimistic that goods and trade will start to move again within the next week or two.