CHINAAFRICA Beijing’s new team starts work 4th December 2012 A woman walks past a hording displaying propaganda for the Chinese Communist Party. Qilai Shen / Panos Image courtesy of Panos Pictures Xi Jinping’s government will gradually switch from export-led growth to focus on domestic investment but will still need Africa’s oil and minerals The character of the new all-male leadership of China’s Communist Party announced on 15 November will prove at least as important for Africa’s political and business elite as the United States presidential elections held a week earlier. The reason is economics: bilateral trade between China and Africa increased to US$127.3 billion by the end of 2011 from just $8 bn. in 2000. US trade with Africa hit a record $104.1 bn. in 2008 but fell to $94.3 bn. in 2011. China’s gross domestic product increased fourfold during the past decade under the outgoing government of President Hu Jintao.