Strengthening cooperation between China and African countries in energy and industrial sectors is key to accelerate recovery from COVID-19 related shocks, experts said at a forum held in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi on Wednesday.
The half-day hybrid forum that was convened by Nairobi-based Pan African think tank, Africa Policy Institute and China National Petroleum Corporation Economic and Technological Research Institute (CNPC-ETRI) was attended by senior policymakers, industry executives and scholars from China and Africa.
Kirimi Kaberia, principal secretary of Kenya's State Department for Industrialization said that African countries were keen on robust ties with China in their quest for energy security and the creation of robust indigenous manufacturing.
He said that Sino-Africa cooperation in the manufacturing and energy sectors is key to realize a prosperous, equitable and greener post-COVID future for the two long-standing bilateral allies.
Kenya hosted a day-long experts' forum under the theme of "China-Africa Cooperation on Energy and Industrialization in Post-COVID-19 Era" ahead of the 2021 Forum on China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit slated for November in Dakar, Senegal.
Zhang Yijun, Minister Counsellor at the Chinese Embassy in Kenya said Beijing is committed to a healthy partnership with Africa to help the continent achieve energy security, propel growth of the manufacturing sector.
According to Zhang, China is a global leader in harnessing renewable energy sources, adding that collaboration with African countries will enable them to tap into their vast reservoir of solar and wind power to fuel low carbon growth.
"China will encourage its businesses to conduct closer cooperation with their African partners in clean energy such as photovoltaic, wind power, nuclear, hydrogen and biomass energy," said Zhang.
Peter Kagwanja, CEO of Africa Policy Institute, noted that China has for decades provided capital, technology and expertise required to grow Africa's energy and manufacturing sectors.
"China is not a newcomer to Africa's energy and industrial sectors. It has invested in hydro, geothermal and gas plants in the continent," said Kagwanja, adding that the establishment of special economic and industrial zones has been a key feature of Sino-Africa cooperation in the recent past.
According to Kagwanja, the upcoming China-Africa summit in Dakar, Senegal should emphasize policy harmonization and technology transfer in order to revitalize local manufacturing in the continent.