The Fourth China-Arab States Expo was held in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, North Central China, on 5 – 8 September. Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory message to the opening ceremony of the event.

A total of 362 deals worth about ¥185.42bn ($26bn) were signed at the expo.

The event, adhering to the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, served well as a comprehensive national platform opening to the world. It focused on economic and trade co-operation and highlighted pragmatic results.

More than 2,900 regional organisations, chambers of commerce, associations and enterprises from 107 delegations in 89 countries attended the opening ceremony, as well as eight exhibitions and investment promotion activities, four conferences and forums, and serial activities about the theme province, Jiangsu.

A series of negotiations and investigations about trade, high-tech, Internet Plus, digital economy, infrastructure and capacity co-operation were held during the expo, facilitating the reaching of a batch of co-operation agreements and practical results, which further demonstrated the role of the event to serve the Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) and promote economic and trade exchange.

Boydiel Houmeid, Vice President of the National Assembly of Mauritania, delivered a speech at the opening ceremony of the expo, noting that Arab Countries hope to establish a model of international co-operation featuring zero external interference, mutual understanding, mutual respect and win-win results It is believed that more opportunities will be created for China-Arab States co-operation, said Houmeid.

“So far, China has signed co-operation documents on joint construction of the BRI with 18 Arab countries”

China and Arab countries are seeing increasingly broad prospects for bilateral co-operation, said Shi Taifeng, secretary of the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), emphasising that Ningxia will make good use of the important platform of the China-Arab States Expo to promote high quality development of the BRI, so as to build a bridge between the enterprises from both China and Arab countries.

China and Arab Countries have many ideas, opportunities and measures to be implemented that will all help promote economic and trade exchanges between the two sides, especially in areas with comparative advantages such as agriculture, energy, technology and industry, said Mahmoud Hassan Elamin, Director of the Arab League representative office in Beijing.

A series of technology themed activities were held during the expo, bringing technological co-operation into focus, including a modern agriculture exhibition and agricultural co-operation dialogue, innovative and advanced technologies and equipment exhibition, a technological achievements promotion and matchmaking meeting, and the China-Arab States technology transfer and innovation co-operation conference.

In September 2015, the China-Arab States agricultural technology transfer centre was set up in Ningxia as one of the moves to put President Xi’s important Belt & Road Initiative, into practice.

Over the past four years, eight bilateral technology transfer centres have been established in Arab nations by the national-level comprehensive cross-border technology transfer centre through co-operation with relevant institutes.

Meanwhile, the centre has also held multiple cross-border training sessions for technical personnel and facilitated a number of transfer and demonstration projects of advanced technologies between China and Arab nations, such as the prevention and elimination of date palm pests.

The efforts to jointly build technology transfer centres have been productive, said Mahmoud Sakr, Egyptian vice-minister of higher education and scientific research, who on behalf of Egypt signed a memorandum of understanding with China on the establishment of the China-Egypt technology transfer centre two years ago.

“More than 2,900 regional organisations, chambers of commerce, associations and enterprises from 107 delegations in 89 countries attended the opening ceremony”

The China-Egypt transfer centre offered opportunities for nearly 50 officials and young Egyptian scientists to go to China for training in such areas as innovation, incubators and scientific park operation, Sakr said, adding that the two countries have carried out co-operation in four areas, including smart agriculture and remote sensing technology.

It represents an important driving force for the development of scientific and technological innovation in Egypt, said Sakr.

So far, China has signed co-operation documents on joint construction of the BRI with 18 Arab countries. As an important China-Arab platform for BRI construction, the China-Arab States Expo has played a positive role in promoting economic and trade exchanges and co-operation between China and Belt & Road countries, including Arab Nations.

The Chinese built Railway has significantly facilitated communication between Djibouti and the outside world, Aboubaker Omar Hadi, Chairman of the Djibouti Ports & Free Zones Authority (DPFZA) said.

The modern electric railway, connecting coastal and inland areas and operating on clean energy, largely reduces transport costs, said Hadi, extending his appreciation for China’s assistance in Djibouti’s infrastructure construction.