China has become Africa’s largest trade partner, and has just promised an impressive $60bn (£40bn) in assistance and loans to boost development of the continent. Yet the relationship has not been limited to just new roads, mines and military power. From items such as wigs and false beards to toothbrushes, the Chinese trade juggernaut is making massive inroads into the African continent with traders from across Africa now living and working in China, while tens of thousands of Chinese nationals have moved in the opposite direction.
According to a BBC report, Nigeria imported 159 million toothbrushes, worth over $9 million, from China. The report also disclosed that about $450 million was spent on the importation of motorcycles from China.
Statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics had had shown that Nigeria had spent about N1.6 trillion on Chinese imports in 2014, and another N723.9 billion in the first two quarters of 2015. The data from China indicates Nigeria has this year (January to October) imported goods valued at about $11.3 billion from China and exported goods and services worth $1 billion. The country is only second to South Africa ($13.6 billion) in imports from China from Africa. Africa’s total imports from China was about $89 billion.
Other African countries were not left out in the trade with China, with South Africa emerging the continent’s biggest importer of Chinese-made male underpants.
Of the 18,747,003 pants imported by South Africa in 2014, 16,612,590 were Chinese – that’s a whopping 88% of South Africa’s imported pants.
Kenya was Africa’s biggest importer of plastic Chinese toilet seats in 2014, spending $8,197,499 on the lavatorial thrones, while Togolese traders spent $193,818,756 on Chinese motorcycles in 2014.