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China-Africa friendship to direction of harmonious development in future

         Date: 2012-04-07

           Tag: China-Africa, China-Africa development

Summary: The late-coming but flourishing China-Africa relations have brought about excitement to Africa but concerns to the West. As a result, China itself should have awareness towards the challenges and cr…

The late-coming but flourishing China-Africa relations have brought about excitement to Africa but concerns to the West. As a result, China itself should have awareness towards the challenges and crisis.

While summing up the experiences and achievements, China should reflect on the deficiencies and lessons learned in order to enable itself to, despite the international and African situation changes, continue to explore the potential to deepen the cooperation in all aspects of China-Africa relations, and steer the boat of China-Africa friendship to the direction of harmonious development in the future.

Firstly, on the economic cooperation level, China at the current stage should recognize clearly that the rapid increase of the trade volume does not mean that China’s economic competitiveness is simultaneously enhanced, as other economic competitiveness elements and indicators are also indispensable.

Such elements and indicators include trade structure, level of science and technology and technological contents in the trade and economic cooperation projects, capability of ensuring environmental protection and sustainable development, or training of legal and expertise personnel.

There is a great potential to be tapped for enhancing China's political influence, economic competitiveness, moral appeal and diplomatic affinity in Africa. In the four areas, we still have a long way to go. In many ways, China should be humble enough to learn from some of the Western expertise and practices, and listen to the conducive cautions and suggestions of Africa seriously.

In fact, the sustainable development of China-Africa relations and how far China could go in Africa depends largely on how China responds to the sensitive issues of concern of Africa (such as management localization of the Chinese companies, local workers under-employment.

textile industry competition, Africa’s infant industries’ protection, Chinese products’ quality problems and need for the Chinese companies to increase their corporate social responsibility awareness), how truly the interests of Africa are served when China enters into Africa and how effectively the objective of mutually beneficial win-win result is achieved.

Secondly, weighing China’s achievements of "substance" made through arduous China-Africa economic and trade cooperation carefully, China also needs to develop a sense of crisis over the lack of exchange with Africa in the “ideological” field. For a long time, the focus on investment, aid and infrastructure construction in Africa, i.e. the "visible" and "tangible" hardware projects, has been one of the prominent characteristics of China’s comparative advantages and China-Africa exchanges and, in practice, is welcomed by the African peoples.

In comparison, the Western countries put more resources into software projects including nurturing the concept of civil society in Africa, promoting African leadership’s "capacity building” and providing assistance to African intellectual elites’ academic researches.

The "hard" - "soft" and “external”-“internal” difference has always been seen by the MPs on the Capitol Hill and think-tank experts in the US with a constant super sense of crisis as "inadequacy” of the US diplomacy in the hope that the United States should "stay tough in both hardware and software, inside and out".

Therefore, to promote the future development of the Sino-African relations, we should, in addition to continuing effective promotion of solid economic and trade cooperation, make more efforts in enhancing China’s discourse right. It needs to be recognized that to increase the discourse right is not a simplistic fight for the "microphone", but to expand and deepen the scope and fields of communication and exchange between China and Africa.

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