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The Chinese and African Dream
ormer President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Olusegun Obasanjo expounded his understanding of the Chinese dream and its implication for Africa
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China-Africa New Strategic Partnership and Friendship for Development and Transformation
A speech delivered by Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn at Beijing Foreign Studies University



Ladies and Gentlemen,

Apart from the equal nature of the relationship that this strategic partnership has brought about, China’s presence in Africa has also gone a long way in stimulating a continent wide expansion of infrastructure that has begun to narrow the competitiveness gap that had always stood in the way of Africa’s successful entry into the global economy as an able partner that can assist in global re-balancing and in helping the world find a less volatile economic equilibrium. Africa can compete globally only if it manages to carry out massive infrastructural expansion in sectors such as telecommunication, energy generation and in building efficient transportation system. In this regard, the commitment of the Government of China in the provision of development finance in these areas is commendable. It is also worth noting that support in this sector will also help further integrate Africa through roads, railways and electric grids thus creating a multiplier effect whereby African economies boost their competitiveness even further. Today many countries in Africa, Ethiopia included, are being rebuilt from ground up with the help of Chinese finance and Chinese engineers. This will undoubtedly promote trade between African countries and create larger and integrated markets.

In this connection, I would like to stress that it is no coincidence that most of the huge infrastructural projects in Africa are being undertaken by Chinese companies. This is not because most of the finance comes from China, but more importantly because no other nation in history   either in the west or in the east has ever undertaken as massive infrastructural projects in such short periods of time as the Chinese have in the last few decades. Africa cannot afford to grow by piecemeal and it is altogether fitting that we collectively and individually tap into the Chinese potential to undertake and successfully complete large scale projects in relatively shorter duration.

What China has to do in this regard is not only to further strengthen its resolve to help Africa get its house in order but also to avoid the kind of rapacious hunt for natural resources that characterized the Africa of the 1960s and 1970s. Africa should not be a net exporter of primary commodities and net importer of capital goods whether from China or elsewhere. Our engagement with all our partners should thus lead to more, not less, industrialization. China has both the responsibility and the incentive, as it has already begun to do, to turn Africa’s resource curse into a blessing that will further enhance the mutual interest of both partners.



Ladies and Gentlemen,

Another area on which our strategic partnership should focus is capacity building. Africa’s growth spiral cannot be sustained without building the capacity of Africans to increase their productivity. Chinese higher learning institutions and technical support are therefore of great significance in addressing this shortfall in a manner that will ensure Africa’s own ownership of its growth.

There is also a broader a paradigm shift in development perspective in Africa- not more aid but more trade and investment. The focus is less on aid and more on attracting more private investment and expanding more business ties.

We in Africa are keenly aware that Chinese foreign direct investment can and should play a vital role in the development of manufacturing sector in Africa. It is my hope and expectation that there will soon be a significant interest in not just traditional areas of investment such as in the extractive sector but also in expanding to other value-adding sectors such as manufacturing. These are sectors that not only create more jobs but also go a long way in ensuring the transfer of more skills and technology. The Government of China can thus play a significant role in encouraging Chinese companies to pay more attention to value-adding, job-creating and technology transferring sectors such as manufacturing.

It is also worth noting here that Chinese investors have yet to set their eyes on investing in Africa’s rather lucrative agricultural sector. More than sixty per cent of the world’s arable land is to be found in Africa and the potential for investment by the Chinese on this sector is very huge.  With the increasing food prices throughout the world, this is an area to which Chinese investors should pay much attention.



Ladies and Gentlemen,

China-Africa strategic partnership is not however merely about mutually beneficial relationship geared towards ensuring economic development. Our best of intentions notwithstanding, economic development cannot be fully achieved in a world where injustice is still rampant not only within nations but also within the international order itself. It is entirely implausible to assume that development can succeed in a context where many countries continue to find themselves at the receiving end of an unjust economic and political order at global level. The governance of international financial institutions and supra-national institutions such as the UN should also factor in our relations with China as much as it does in our relations with our other partners in the West.

Africa and china should harmonize their efforts in areas of UN reform, climate change and sensitive peace and security issues throughout Africa and beyond in the interest of finding lasting solutions to our common problems and challenges. As a global power of increasing influence China must not shy away from playing a more pro-active role equal to its size and influence in issues that affect humanity. It is also in Africa’s interest that China uses its influence in a responsible way, as I am sure it will, to tip the balance of global power in favor of justice  be it economic or political. This will go a long way in ensuring rule of law and democratization in international relations.

Close to home, China must realize that however effective its support to African countries in terms of economic development, it will not have the desired outcome if the very beneficiaries of this largesse are engulfed in conflict and crises. It would therefore be only logical that China step up its role in this regard and play a positive role in maintaining peace and security in the continent.



Ladies and Gentlemen,

As the current chair of the AU Assembly, I have dedicated a good part of my statement to the current development story of Africa and the distinguishing characteristics of the strategic partnership between China and Africa.  I deliberately avoided much discussion about my country in my discourse as it is simply part of the African development story.  Africa is on the move, so is Ethiopia.  We in Ethiopia have enjoyed a double digit growth for about a decade. China has been with us every inch of the way in this success story and greatly we treasure this partnership.

In conclusion, I wish to reiterate that the strategic partnership between China and Africa is not only key for their mutual progress but is also critical for fairness and the rule of law in the current international order.

I thank you.



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Africa Report
Embattled Newest Nation
-Climate Relief
-Land Grab Woes
-Bring on the Rain
-Depending on a Diaspora
China-Africa New Strategic Partnership and Friendship for Development and Transformation
-BRICS Means Business
-Cameroon Aims for More Chinese Visitors
-Greening International Relations
-Switch Off Your Lights, Help The Planet
Nation in Focus
-November 2010
-September 2010
-June 2010
-May 2010
News Roundup
-September 2013
-August 2013
-July 2013
-June 2013
-May 2013





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