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Right time for China, Africa to give full play to production capacity cooperation

Submit Time:02-12-2015 | Zoom In | Zoom Out

Author:Xinhua writer Zhu Junqing |


As African countries strive to boost industrialization and pursue sustainable development, China-Africa production capacity cooperation becomes the right thing at the right time for both sides.

For Africa, which is trying to move away from a donor dependency syndrome and to develop its own manufacturing capacity, China is a natural partner.

China's technology, expertise as well as its strong will to share with Africa can undoubtedly facilitate the continent's modernization.


"Partnerships must be based on knowledge and technology transfer, not merely on FDI (foreign direct investment)," said Fay Chung, a Chinese-Zimbabwean scholar and two-term minister in President Robert Mugabe's cabinet. "The development of the brains and values of Zimbabwe are key to the future."

Her opinion was echoed by Munene Macharia, an international relations lecturer at the U.S. International University in Nairobi, Kenya.

"The prospects are bright. The two sides would need to develop a common vision as to industries and other aspects of human development," he said.

Chung, also author of "Zimbabwe Looking East," said a "skewed" model of cooperation between Africa and the West was partly to blame for the underdevelopment and widespread poverty in Africa since it focused mainly on the production of primary goods for the West.

However, China, as a traditional friend of Africa, will not follow Western countries' track, and will not sacrifice Africa's environment and long-term interests.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has said that China will help Africa with industrialization, food security, public health and disease prevention.

China will help Africa achieve self-development and create a peaceful and stable environment for long-term progress. China does not attach political conditions to assistance, nor does it constrain or interfere in the domestic affairs of African countries, said Wang.

Vice Commerce Minister Qian Keming said that China will increase investment in Africa, export advanced industrial production capacity to the continent and buy more non-resource products from it.

Professor Gerishon Ikiara, economist and associate director at the Nairobi University's Institute of Diplomacy and International Studies, said: "Today, most African countries look at China as the most suitable partner in their national industrialization and other economic development programs."


China has emphasized a win-win cooperation strategy with its partners in a bid to seek common development and prosperity.

"The strategy has helped to create fairly rapid, visible and significant transformation in African infrastructure development, igniting industrialization process, economic diversification and transformation through negotiated transfer of technology aimed at establishing sustainable systems and structures," Ikiara said.

"China is against exploitative cut-throat competition pursued by some developed countries at the expense of their partners from the developing world," he said.

The booming infrastructure programs exemplify the win-win cooperation.

"With improved infrastructure and communication system in Africa, both China and African countries reduce their unit cost of operation which itself is a wealth creation," Macharia said.

"This helps to accelerate economic transformation, as the savings in terms of time and finance are plowed back into respective economies," he said.


Though China-Africa cooperation is hailed by the two sides, there are challenges.

Ikiara said those challenges include low existing capacity among African countries, socioeconomic uncertainty and political instability.

Moreover, "global propaganda" against China and its relationship with Africa is a challenge which needs to be closely monitored before it causes disruptions, he said.

Facts speak louder than words. China has provided African countries with loans worth over 20 billion U.S. dollars since 2012 to support its infrastructure, investment, small and medium-sized enterprises, agriculture and manufacturing.

The Chinese government also rolled out about 900 assistance programs in Africa covering agriculture, health, education and other fields and offered training to over 30,000 local people since 2012.

China prioritizes the manufacturing sector in its industrial cooperation with Africa to help the continent break from the colonial legacy of being a net exporter of raw materials to that of finished products and services, Chung said.

What's more encouraging is that fresh measures to promote win-win cooperation will be rolled out at the upcoming Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in Johannesburg, South Africa, which will be chaired by Chinese President Xi Jinping, according to Wang, the Chinese foreign minister.

(Xinhua correspondents Sun Mei in Beijing, Ding Xiaoxi in Kenya, Li Xiaopeng and Yu Shuaishuai in Maputo and Xu Lingui in Harare contributed to the story.)

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