Africa’s trade with China has grown considerably with exports rising by 72 percent in 2005. The figure surpassed exports to Europe which only amounted to 30 percent, said Standard Chartered Bank on Wednesday.

Trade between China, the fastest growing economy in the world, and Africa had amounted to $40 billion by the end of 2005, which is ten times higher than in 1995, according to the bank.

This sharp rise in trade occurred after China omitted tariffs on 190 imported goods from 28 of Africa’s least developed countries.

While African exports to China consist of oil, timber and cotton, China's exports to Africa comprise mainly machinery, electronics, textiles and hi-tech products

South Africa is China's key trade partner in Africa. It constitutes to 20.8 percent of the total volume of China-Africa trade. According to South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry, China has established more than 80 companies in South Africa since 1998.

Total China-Africa trade reached about $29.5 billion in 2004, an increase of 59 percent over 2003. Growth since 2001 has increased at an average of 31.2 percent a year, according to a statement by South Africa’s government.

Meanwhile, Africa's trade deficit with China has decreased from $2 billion in 2004 to a surplus of $900 million in 2005.