China to enhance AU partnership

Updated: 2013-05-27 03:25

By Li Lianxing in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (China Daily)

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Vice-premier calls on nations to set goals

The destiny of the African Union and African continent are intertwined, and China will closely work with the AU to further enhance the partnership, according to a high level Chinese official.

Chinese President Xi Jinping's special representative and Vice-Premier Wang Yang said "a prosperous and strong AU makes a prosperous and strong African continent" when he met Dlamini Zuma, chairman of the AU Commission, on Saturday as celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of the AU kicked off in the Ethiopian capital city.

China to enhance AU partnership

Vice-Premier Wang Yang speaks at the celebration of the African Union's 50th anniversary in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Saturday. Meng Chenguang / Xinhua

He said Africa and its people should use the anniversary as an opportunity to further stress and promote the spirit of pan-Africanism and reach a consensus on its renaissance mission, to make greater achievements in peace and development.

He also said the friendship and collaboration between China and Africa are facing new development opportunities, and China is willing to work with Africa to enhance the relationship by perfecting cooperation mechanisms, enhancing practical collaboration and strengthening discussion and coordination in international affairs.

Over the last 50 years, China has been an "all-weather friend" to Africa, said Adams Bodomo, an African studies professor at the University of Hong Kong.

"This is a good term to describe Africa's relationship with China, because ever since some of our first meetings as emerging nations in Bandung in Indonesia in 1955, African and Asian countries, including China, have stood by each other and compared notes about nation-building and development," he said. "China has supported many countries in Africa in their struggle for independence from colonialism and other oppressive systems such as apartheid."

After the independence era, China continued to be a reliable development partner, and its approach was different from other development partners, he said.

In the process, it has contributed to many beneficial and win-win scenarios for the economic development of China and Africa.

China will be confronted in the next 50 years with more intense competition from various new investment partners in Africa. It should continue to innovate and bring out new ways of relating to Africa, Bodomo said.

"Africa must develop a clear China strategy and thus be in the driver's seat," he said. "China seems to have been more proactive than Africa in the last 50 years. In the next 50 years, Africa needs to be more proactive and assertive in deciding what it wants from this relationship."

He said the Forum on China-African Cooperation is a good platform, in which broad policy initiatives were announced and good ideas were discussed and implemented. But in the future, more cultural, economic and political institutions should be set up in China and Africa to complement the macro bilateral relations.

Bodomo also said the African Diaspora in China could also play a critical role in the future to facilitate this relationship as they have been designated by the AU as a sixth development zone.

"The Diaspora serves as an important instrument of cultural and economic mediation between Africa and China. What China and Africa can do is to facilitate fruitful and conducive immigration atmospheres for Africans in China and for Chinese in Africa," he said.