Focus on industrialization, job creation- African Leaders urged


China’s Director General of the Department of African Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Lin Songtian, has urged African leaders to urgently focus on accelerating industrialisation, job-creation and infrastructural development to ensure sustainable economic growth.

“African leaders must stop relying on grants from developed countries or international organisations, but rather commit themselves to industrialisation and developing their capacity for reeling out competitive products to enhance sustainable development.”?

Addressing 13 senior journalists from Ghana and Nigeria at a China-Africa Press Exchange Workshop held in Beijing, China, Ambassador Songtian said: “We prefer to help Africa manufacture, and not just to export to Africa; this is a way to help people develop. If you want to see industrialisation, you need a lot of money to develop your infrastructure –construct good roads and provide electricity among others.

“In China we emphasise on interactions with other countries, because if you don’t do this you cannot convince people to invest in your economy.”

He indicated that the African continent lacks the capacity to create jobs and ability to produce and have enough foreign resources — adding that African countries should embark on massive agricultural and resource mobilisation to produce goods and services with added value. ?

Mr. Songtian urged African leaders to stop in-fighting and embrace unity while remaining fully committed to serving the people. “In Africa you spend too much time fighting one another; a leader should see the country as one, be the president of the country and not the political party; be united and committed to serve the country and the people wholeheartedly, and be ready to sacrifice if necessary,” he said. ?

He pledged China’s readiness to support Africa speed up industrialisation and agricultural development, as long as African leaders demonstrate satisfactory commitment in that direction. ?

“This is the new China and we are open to Africa. Most African countries dream of seeing Industrialization, and that is what will create employment and development. Leaders need to show commitment to serving the nation.”

Commenting on media collaboration, he urged African media to focus more on ways to promote investments through positively reporting Africa’s issues in order to attract investors.

Such an approach, he said, will encourage investors instead of creating fear and uncertainties through negative reports.

“Such support from the media will go a long way to guarantee investments in the continent, most Chinese investors do not know much about the environment.

“We follow a lot of reports about your country; some of them feature decisions as to where to invest. I don’t think we should write reports to scare away investors. We should write about things that will support the common interest of both parties to do business,’’ he said.

He described the Western media influence in Africa as usually negative, and said that China’s interest in Africa is to create equal opportunities for growth and development.

“China and Africa have been close allies right from the colonial period, and have been supportive of each other on local and international issues. China has emerged economically, but we are still seeking development partners to be able to maintain growth.

“Africa has rich natural resources and a large market which through our technology can be harnessed for development.”

He explained that the economic emergence of China did not come easy but through hard work, committed leadership and consistency in policy formulation.

“But in Africa, the fear of inconsistency in policy formulation and the lack of commitment by leaders has remained a concern. We need the media to promote modern ways of doing business through the creation of an enabling environment to attract investors,’’ Songtian said.

President of the Beijing International Chinese College (BICC) — organiser of the workshop, Mr. Geng Xuechao, said Africa has remained China’s long-term strategic partner. In 2013, President Xi Jinping’s first visit to Africa was to reinforce cooperation with the continent.

Xuechao explained that China is keen on exchanging ideas on how to help transform African countries, adding that such exchanges are important in enabling the world to know the true China. ?


China-Africa Media Workshop

The workshop was sponsored by the China-Africa Press Centre of the China Public Diplomacy Association, and drew 13 senior journalists from Nigeria and Ghana. It was aimed at enhancing a comprehensive understanding of the Chinese economy, culture, language, education, customs and livelihood, and was organised for visiting African journalists.

The two-week workshop was organised by Beijing International Chinese College as part of media effort to create better understanding that would lead to improved relations between China and Africa.

The programme has had much recognition and great support from both Chinese and foreign governments, as it bridges friendship and cooperation between China and Africa.

Through communication and discussions, the workshop again aims at promoting the traditional friendship and cooperation in fields like economy and trade between China and Africa, meanwhile accelerating human resource development and economic social progress in those countries.

The workshop covered a wide range of activities including lectures, discussions and field trips.

As part of the programme, organisations appointed by the China Public Diplomacy Association invited government officials and scholars to introduce and discuss relevant courses, policies and measures involved in China’s social and economic development; especially the achievements and experiences, positive and negative; happenings in China’s social reforms and opening process, and other related topics.

Participants also took time to visit some Provinces: namely Beijing, Henan and Shanghai, as well as institutions and enterprises to help acquaint themselves with the reality of a developing China.

Participants also had the opportunity to sit with officials and enterprises and provide them with information about the economic situation, investment circumstances, trade policies and cooperation intentions of African countries, and thus find more opportunities and wider approaches for bilateral economic and specialised cooperation.