Southern African News Features                                           SANF 12 No 34 , September 2012

China-Africa relations based on a “partnership too big to ignore”

by Kizito Sikuka in Beijing, China

Relations between China and Africa continue to grow from strength to strength with more focus now being placed on this “new type of strategic partnership” that has become a model for other partnerships to emulate. Previously considered as just another global arrangement, China-Africa cooperation has opened up vast opportunities for the two parties to achieve sustainable development and transform world affairs. For example, trade between Africa and China has tremendously increased over the past decade, from about US$10 billion in 2000 to more than US$160 billion in 2011.

With regard to international politics, the two are vigorously using their growing influence in world matters to push for reforms that can ensure that all countries relate on equal footing as opposed to the current scenario where the majority are being dominated by a few powerful nations. To cope with challenges of economic globalization and socio-political development, the two have also established the Forum on China and Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), which has charted the course for the development of both China and Africa. Addressing Zimbabwean journalists attending a media seminar in Beijing, China, leading Chinese experts said China-Africa relations are now too big for anyone to ignore.

As such, it is important for the world to accept and acknowledge the friendship as it is based on mutual trust and respect. Chinese Vice-Minister of Information, Wang Guoqing said it is, however, sad to note that some outsiders such as the Western media are not well informed about the partnership and often try hard to demonize the relationship. “We know that there are some people who do not like our relationship (China-Africa relations),” he said. “Although we are geographically far apart from each other, China and Africa share a common interest and we always support each other.”

He urged the two to continue working together in order to push for reforms that benefit all. Another official, Huang Yon Yi, who is the deputy director general of China International Publishing Group, said the China-Africa friendship is not new as it dates back to many decades ago. “China is indebted to Africa in so many ways,” he said. “So, we will not forget our friends. It is natural that we cooperate, work together and support each other no matter the challenge,” he said.

Liu Junjie, a senior official with the Central Party School of the Communist Party of China (CPC), concurred. “China and Africa are very good friends,” Liu said. He said as emerging economies, the two must strive to maintain and improve their economic situations for the sake of global peace and stability. “We are both emerging economies and doing our utmost best to develop our countries,” he said. The seminar for Zimbabwean media, which is running from 3-19 September, is being hosted by the Chinese government through its Information Office of the State Council. A total of 20 journalists are attending the seminar.

The Information Office of the State Council has held similar seminars for journalists from a number of African countries as well those from Latin America. With a rich programme of lectures, workshops and field trips, the seminar aims to foster a better understanding of China’s political, economic, social and cultural development, as well as promote exchanges in the field of news and media between China and other African countries. Southern African News Features offers a reliable source of regional information and analysis on the Southern African Development Community, and is provided as a service to the SADC region.

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SANF is produced by the Southern African Research and Documentation Centre (SARDC), which has monitored regional developments since 1985

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