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China, Africa relations an opportunity, not threat, says Hongwu

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Economic and socio-political relationship between Africa and China is an opportunity and not a threat to global peace and development.

Professor Liu Hongwu, Chair professor of Changjiang Scholars Programme and an expert of Discipline Planning Review Panel of National Social Science Foundation, stated this in an interview with The Guardian in Abuja.

Hongwu, who doubles as Director of the Institute of African Studies at Zhejiang Normal University (IASZNU), said in spite of the controversies of cultural diversity, especially where peace, security and development are concerned, Africa-China relations was a fundamental subject of global relevance.

“In this case, due to the cultural diversity that exists between Nigeria and China, there are bound to be different perspectives about how things should be. For example, cultural diversity can lead to diversity in the mode of development.

“There are areas where Nigeria and China stand to benefit from a strong relationship. However, the first question is why does Africa need China and why does China need Africa,” he said.

He has been writing and researching to promote African culture and history in China so that the Chinese people could get to know more about the richness in possibilities and the culture of Africa and Nigeria.

Hongwu, who is also Director of Academic Committee of the Centre for African Studies at the Yunnan University, said considering the ties between Nigeria and China, which has spanned over 47 years, the institute was keen on African research in China.

President of China, Xi Jinping, stressed recently at a conference in South Africa that Chinese institutes should focus more on researches about Africa with more researches that would promote relationship between China and the African continent.

To that extent, the institute’s academic team includes over 40 full time African and Chinese scholars and has several research centres including Centres on Political; Economic; History and Cultural; Movies, Film and Media; Peace, Security, as well as Education Studies on Africa.

Hongwu described Africa as China 30 years ago, so technologies in China not in use presently could still be used to promote development in Africa so that Africa could also take a global industrial lead as China did.

On the economy, he noted that income level in Africa was low, so, there was the need to promote industrialisation, adding: “This is why embracing the Chinese experience in Africa will help.”


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