China-Africa cooperation flourishes with rising interdependence

11:30, May 28, 2011      

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by Xinhua writers Deng Yushan, Liu Chang

It is a relationship forged through common struggles, based on equality and mutual benefit and intended for the prosperity of 2.3 billion people.

It's the relationship between China and Africa.

As the newest manifestation of the growing importance of the time-honored ties between China and Africa, Beijing is rounding off the latest of its frequent top-level visits to the continent, this time by top Chinese legislator Wu Bangguo.

"China and Africa have been brought together by the same sufferings we had gone through, by a common mission of development and by our mutual strategic interests," Wu, who is on a tour to Namibia, Angola and South Africa, said Saturday at the first Africa-China Young Leaders Forum in the Namibian capital of Windhoek.


A ready indicator of how important China and Africa are to each other is their booming economic and trade cooperation, which serves as a mainstay of and a major driving force for their overall bilateral relations.

The establishment of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in 2000 put bilateral economic and trade cooperation on the fast track. In 10 years, trade between them ballooned from 10.6 billion U.S. dollars to 124 billion dollars, and Chinese investment in Africa boomed from tens of millions of dollars to over 10 billion dollars.

"For China, Africa's exports of crude oil, minerals, steel and agricultural products play an active role in promoting China's economic development and improving the Chinese people's livelihood," said the China-Africa Economic and Trade Cooperation White Paper published in December 2010.

Meanwhile, Africa is also an indispensable market with great potential for Chinese products, Ye Hailin, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), said in a recent article published in Xinhua's International Herald Leader newspaper. He stressed that without a modernized Africa, China's manufacturing industry, which is capable of satisfying almost the entire global demand, would run into serious problems.

On the other hand, for Africa, China's products and technology meet the needs of Africa's development, while the vast Chinese market provides space for African products, the White Paper said. It added that the arrival of high-quality and reasonably-priced Chinese products helps improve the living standards of Africans.

Moreover, the rapid development of China, the world's largest developing country, is a valuable source of experience for Africa, the continent with the largest number of developing countries.

Africa should learn from China's development success, accelerate infrastructure construction, upgrade economic development patterns and achieve sustained, rapid economic growth, Jennifer Blanke, head of the Global Competitiveness Network at the World Economic Forum, said early this month at the 21st World Economic Forum on Africa in the South African city of Cape Town.

What is more significant is that China is not only a reliable blood donor for Africa's development, but also a dedicated participant in strengthening Africa's own blood-generating system by helping countries on the continent build various essential infrastructure.

"By the end of 2009, China had provided assistance for the construction of over 500 infrastructure projects in Africa," including houses, roads, railroads, dams, airports, seaports, power grids, telecommunication facilities, hospitals and schools, according to the Chinese White Paper.

For example, during the past six years, the Export-Import Bank of China alone assisted Angola in building 10 water treatment plants, 56 schools and a number of irrigation systems for the immediate benefit of millions of local residents.

Mark Suzman, director of policy, advocacy and special initiatives for the Global Development Program of the Bill &Melinda Gates Foundation, told Xinhua on the sidelines of the Cape Town forum that the basic installations China has helped put in place in Africa are very helpful to the implementation of the foundation's agricultural aid programs.

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