Sino-Africa thinkers chart path on modernisation, African development
African and Chinese think tanks, scholars and governments have taken up the challenge to link Chinese modernisation with Africa’s development agenda.
Over the past two weeks, leaders and representatives of various institutions in China and Africa converged in the city of Jinhua, Zhejiang province in southeast China for a seminar on, “Chinese Modernisation and African Development” which ran either side of the two-day 12th Meeting of the China-Africa Forum, which took place Tuesday and Wednesday.
Both took place Zhejiang Normal University (ZJNU) with the Institute of African Studies organising the seminar while the Secretariat of the Follow Up Committee on China-Africa Cooperation (Focac) organised the other event.
For the latter, leading figures such as former South African President Kgalema Motlanthe and Gambian Minister of Higher Education Pierre Gomez in attendance.
Think tanks from all over the continent, including those with links to governments and universities participated.
Ruzivo Media Resource Centre, a Harare-based media think tank, represented Zimbabwe.
Various speakers and participants praised the close bond between China and Africa; and how Chinese modernisation path provided a blueprint for the continent’s development.
The latter would, however, beat its development path based on local conditions within the context of African Union Agenda 2063, something that President Xi Jinping has emphasised.
China is the largest developing country in the world, while Africa, with 54 countries, is the continent with the biggest number of developing country.
In the opening ceremony, South African statesman, former president Motlanthe said urged African countries to be inspired by Chinese progress that saw it attaining rapid development.
A participating official, the first secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lesotho Mr Nhaka Joseph Ramoroke said: “This was good platform for the exchange of ideas by thinktanks from both sides so as to bridge the gap between China and Africa. The outcomes of this forum can be influential in shaping up policies on both sides.”
Mr Deus Kuvamba of the Centre for Foreign Relations in Tanzania described both programmes as upholding principles of Focac, which advocates more cooperation by academics, media and think tanks.
“Cooperation between China and Africa shall be made smoother by more cultural and academic exchanges of this nature,” Mr Kuvamba said.
Tichaona Zindoga, the Director of Ruzivo Media and Resource Centre – an organisation that focuses on creating platforms for discussion of local and global issues, with particular bias towards Zimbabwe, Africa, China and the developing world – called for support for media think tanks from governments and universities.
“Media think tanks and resource centres like us get to understand issues and policy matters well before the media, who are our clients and partners,” Zindoga said.
“Equally, we get to understand societal and global issues before they become matters of Government policy. To this end it is imperative for Governments of China and Africa to empower this kind of think tank with resources and support. Universities must also share resources and support with us, especially in Africa.”
He explained: “Our think tanks in turn offer to bring the media closer, assist in crafting blueprints and media strategies to governments and investors; we shall influence and empower the media by curing ignorance through providing information and knowledge.”
Last year, the thinktank hosted a symposium running under the theme, “Impact of Chinese Investments in Zimbabwe” and produced a research report of the same title.
The event drew over 300 participants from Government, diplomats, Chinese companies and academia, among others participated with Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Ambassador Shava, being the Guest of Honour.
Meanwhile, a group of Zimbabwean researchers and journalists are part of about
30 leaders, representatives of political parties and media from 28 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, Palestine, Vietnam and Latin America attending a special weeklong conference in Wuhan, Hubei District in the southwest.
The programme is running under the theme, “Chinese-style Modernization: New Ideas, New Patterns”.