China-Africa Cooperation to New Heights

Post Time: 2020-07-16
     The 2020 China-Africa Development Forum—“The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Africa and China-Africa Development Cooperation”—was held via video conference, which was hosted by Shanghai University of International Business and Economics and organized by two institutes of the university: the Institute of International Cooperation & Development and the Institute of International Business.

In the face of the pandemic, mankind can only fight against the virus together. Li Anshan, director of the Center of African Studies at Peking University, stated that experts should analyze the pandemic situation of Africa and China-Africa development and cooperation in the context of globalization and anti-globalization.

Investigation into globalization’s impact on Africa’s pandemic situation should be conducted mainly from three aspects: the import of initial cases from abroad, the influence of the different degrees of internationalization on a country’s pandemic situation, and international assistance in the context of the pandemic. The relationship between Africa’s pandemic situation and these countries’ say in the world can be seen clearly, and experts should analyze the significant impact of the pandemic on China-Africa relations from the perspective of public opinion, systems, and values.

Africa’s fight against the pandemic is tough and will require perseverance. Liu Hongwu, dean of the Institute of African Studies at Zhejiang Normal University, mentioned that the medical and healthcare system of Africa is under tremendous pressure due to its lack of medical resources. With the pandemic outbreak, the cooperative relationship of mutual support between China and Africa is of great significance for leading global cooperation in the fight against the pandemic. China has demonstrated the effectiveness of its own national governance system in this period, as well as its sincere attitude towards African countries, which will further promote Sino-African exchanges and cooperation, and promote the two sides achieving in-depth cooperation in the medical industry, e-commerce, scientific research and development, as well as healthcare governance, talent cultivation, ecological work, and more.

Huang Meibo, dean of the Research Institute of the International Cooperation of Development of Shanghai University of International Business and Economics, believes that Sub-Saharan African economies have been hit hard by external factors such as global supply chain disruptions, import and export trade obstruction, and a sharp drop in international demand. In order to solve the problems caused by the pandemic which hinder the development of society and economy, turn around the economy, and achieve economic diversification, inclusiveness, and sustainable economic growth, African countries should enhance their governance capabilities in public healthcare and public services, strengthen infrastructure construction, accelerate the transformation of economic structure, promote the development of African free trade zones, and promote the development of regional value chains.

In the context of the global pandemic, China-Africa cooperation in trade and economy is a forward-thinking trend of history. Liu Jisen, executive dean of the Institute for African Studies at Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, stated that the consensus achieved by China and Africa on economic cooperation reflects the mutually beneficial nature of collaboration. Africa’s markets, population structure, natural resources, and labor force have become its late-developing advantages. Furthermore, Sino-African cooperation has improved Africa’s infrastructure, strengthened Africa’s industrialization capabilities, and accelerated the development of Africa’s tertiary industries, which enables African countries to unite and grow. To fight against the pandemic, China and Africa can expand economic and trade cooperation. China must focus on projects relating to people’s livelihood in African countries and conduct friendly people-to-people exchanges, increase imports of non-agricultural products, expand non-agricultural technology transfer, strengthen joint research on traditional Chinese medicine and traditional African medicine, and accelerate the construction of a healthcare system.

China-Africa industrial capacity cooperation is a further step toward deepening the Sino-African relationship in traditional trade and economy. Li Ronglin, director of the Research Center on South-South Cooperation of Nankai University, said that China-Africa capacity cooperation is of great significance for building a global or regional value chain with China taking the initiative, establishing an export platform for third parties, and sharing the successful experience of the “Chinese model” with rest of the world. China’s direct investment in Africa plays a vital role in China-Africa production capacity cooperation, and China-Africa trade lays a realistic foundation for mutual cooperation. The trade and economic cooperation zone in Africa is an important carrier and platform for China-Africa production capacity cooperation. Moreover, China helping Africa construct infrastructure is a prerequisite for mutual cooperation, and China providing assistance and development-oriented financing to Africa is the financial guarantee for Sino-African cooperation. (By Zha Jianguo, translated by Zhang Jiajia, edited by Kendra Fiddler)

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