Nothing could be further from the truth

Updated: 2014-08-15 07:32

By Chen Weihua(China Daily)

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There are many more examples of beneficial Chinese projects in the country. Chinese automakers, such as Lifan, are assembling cars in Ethiopia and it has plans to localize its car parts production, moves that are encouraged by Ethiopia's Five-Year Growth and Transformation Plan. Right now, most of the cars running on streets are used cars, including many dumped by industrialized nations.

While Western countries often accuse China of simply extracting resources from Africa, none of the Chinese companies I saw in Ethiopia this time are there for resources. Instead, they are pursuing win-win cooperation in the nation's modernization drive.

Unlike many Western nations who see Africa as a continent seeking handouts, Chinese, from their own experience over the last four decades, firmly believe that teaching people how to fish is far better than giving them fish.

And contrary to the Western criticism that Chinese companies don't hire local workers, the vast majority of employees in Chinese-invested companies in Ethiopia are locals. And some are assuming various leadership roles. Chinese firms are making great efforts to train the local workforce because skilled labor is often in short supply.

While the US held its first summit with African leaders last week, China's optimism about Africa has been reflected by its early establishment of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation back in 2000 and also China's rise to be Africa's top trade partner.

Even during last week's US-Africa Leaders Summit, there was plenty of criticism about how the US has ignored Africa and lags behind not only China, but also Brazil, India and Europe in engaging Africa in development.

African nations call for more engagement by the rest of the world, and there is plenty of room for everyone, including the US and China. But the kind of ugly politics as reflected in Obama's pointed remarks should not be part of this.

The author, based in Washington, is deputy editor of China Daily USA. E-mail:

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