|Building the “Jinhua Model” of China-Africa Cooperation|
In terms of cooperation with Africa, the saying goes, “To understand China’s approach, look to Zhejiang; to understand Zhejiang’s approach, look to Jinhua.”
1. Economic and Trade Interactions
Based on data from Jinhua Customs, from 2010 to 2022, Jinhua’s total exports to Africa increased from 5.84 billion RMB to 87.94 billion RMB, marking a remarkable 14-fold increase over 13 years. Jinhua has held the position of the top exporter to Africa among all cities in the province for ten straight years, and for eight years running, it has constituted more than 8% of the country’s total exports to Africa, ranking it the top prefecture-level city nationwide.
Currently, roughly 30,000 business people from Jinhua are engaged in long-term business activities in Africa, and more than 5,000 African merchants have established over 700 companies and trade organizations in Jinhua. Jinhua has forged trade ties with every country and region in Africa.
Africa presents a promising market for manufacturing in Jinhua. It serves a dual purpose: it enables Chinese manufacturing to extend its reach globally, while also inviting African products into the Chinese market. Imports from Africa cover a wide variety of goods, including unwrought copper, copper materials, wood, and copper ore, as well as specialty products from various African regions.
2. Educational Cooperation Promotes Development in Africa
On the streets of Jinhua, African faces are a common sight. Many among them are African students who have traveled thousands of miles to study in Jinhua.
Beginning as early as the 1980s, Zhejiang Normal University (ZJNU) started to accept short-term international students, and so far, it has educated more than 8,000 students from Africa.
The unique advantages of vocational education in serving national diplomacy and international openness have been increasingly highlighted. In November 2022, the China-Africa Vocational Education Forum took place in Jinhua. Jinhua Polytechnic (JHC) and Zhejiang Normal University (ZJNU) jointly established the China-Africa Vocational Education Research Center during this event.
3. Cultural Exchanges Strengthen Emotional Bonds Between China and Africa
Cultural exchanges and collaborations are pivotal elements in contemporary China-Africa cooperation. Wu Opera, a vibrant embodiment of Jinhua's cultural charm, has become a window through which African people gain insight into China. For many years, the Zhejiang Wu Opera Troupe has undertaken cultural exchange initiatives in ten African nations, including South Africa, Zambia, and Nigeria, performing 33 shows in total. These activities have greatly enhanced the influence of China’s traditional culture in Africa.
The connectivity among people enhances the solidity of China-Africa friendship. An event was held where international students from prestigious universities visited the ancient villages of Jinhua, such as Suoyuan Village in Lipu Town, Jindong District. Yan Hongxing, Party branch secretary of Suoyuan Village, has stayed in contact with Fu Fa, a young man from Ethiopia, ever since.
Jinhua is actively helping Africans in the city integrate, making them feel like true members of the community. In the Jinyi section of the Zhejiang Pilot Free Trade Zone, a pilot program for streamlined processing of work and residence permits for foreigners has been launched. This initiative offers financial services such as online shopping, payment of expenses, and investment and wealth management to foreign nationals. (Text by Luo Yi, photo by Hu Xiaofei)