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‘Paths to Africa’s development’

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China’s President Xi Jinping / AFP PHOTO / CLAUDIO REYES

Except Africa begins to make plans to develop its business initiatives, it will continue to suffer under-development.

This was the position of a Senior Research Fellow with the Institute of West Asian and African Studies (IWAAS), Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Prof. Zang Yong-peng, at a seminar on Monday in Beijing, China titled, “The Belt and Silk Road Initiative: Creating new Developments in Africa.”

He noted that only through the enhancement of trade ties between Africa and China, multilateral cooperation and investments could the continent move forward.

Decrying centuries of under-development on the continent, the Chinese don pointed out that Africa needs industrialisation, agricultural modernisation, improved human capital, power and technology to get out of the quagmire.

Yong-peng, who submitted that ties between the two parties have improved since 2000, added that it is only through mutual relationship that they could strike a win-win situation.

He stated that “The Road and Belt Initiative,” which could be established through the current relationship, covers more than 100 countries, including South Africa, Egypt and Ethiopia.

Noting that without contact with the outside world, no country can make it, the university teacher said Africa stands to benefit in the area of integrated international development process, capital aid and investment, thereby accelerating the continent’s sustainable development strategy, among others.

According to Yeng-pen, the initiative, which was proposed in 2014 by President Xi Jinping to build a trade infrastructure connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient trade route, was not completely a commercial one. He urged the parties to ensure peace in these symbiotic relations.

The Chinese maintained that mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity among others is key in his country’s diplomatic engagements.

He recalled that at the FOCAC Johannesburg Summit in 2015, 10 major plans to boost cooperation with Africa in the next three years were advanced.

According to him, they included industrialisation, agricultural modernisation, infrastructure, financial services, green development, trade and investment facilitation, poverty reduction as well as public welfare, health, exchanges, peace and security.

Yeng-pen added that $5billion of aid and interest-free loans has been made available to the participating countries.


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