New platform, new beginning for Sino-African exchanges

16:35, April 01, 2010      

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Experts voiced their consensuses Tuesday that cultural and academic exchanges between China and Africa are conducive to the expansion of cooperation at the end of a two-day forum on China-Africa joint research and exchange program, which came to a close in Beijing on Wednesday; and its launch ceremony was held on Tuesday.

The wide-ranging "Exchange Program" covered such fields as the domestic and international cooperation between China and African countries, joint monographic studies and researches, and press and publications.

The launch of the "Exchange Program" was designed to carry out the initiative or proposals Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao had set forth at the opening ceremony of the 4th Ministerial Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) held in 2009, namely, one of the eight new measures to promote Sino-African cooperation, and a vital policy means to enhance the basis of Sino-Africa amity and ideas of friendship and deepen the new type of Sino-African strategic partnership in the new situation.

The "Exchange Program" has erected a platform at a higher level between scholars and "think tanks" of the two sides and upgraded their cooperation to new heights, noted Yang Gang, director of the Institute of West Asia and African Studies under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS). Chinese and African scholars would live up to the expectations of FOCAC, and actively participate in the program within the framework of varied research programs, particularly with those to beef up the swap of experience with African experts and provide an intellectual support to bring forth the better and more improved policies of cooperation between the two sides.

At the symposium on peace and development in Africa and on Sino-Africa cooperation following the opening ceremony, experts, scholars, officials and media "moguls" from China, Africa and Europe as well as officials of some African embassies in Beijing discussed and conferred for an exchange of views on the prospects for achieving the Millennium Development Goals, the role of the global community, peace and security in Africa, the African integration and regional cooperation, and Sino-African cooperation against a backdrop of the financial crisis.

With regard to global financial crisis and its impact, it was almost unanimously agreed that most countries around the world, including China and African nations or economies, are yet to do away with the impact of the financial crisis. Nevertheless, the crisis has enabled Sino-African relations of cooperation to stand a severe test and become much more mature. China has re-iterated that it would honor its commitments to Africa on the one hand and, on the other hand, many African nations hope to step up their cooperation with China to uproot the negative impact of the crisis.

Consequently, the financial crisis would bring forth opportunities and new areas of growth for the Sino-African cooperation. For example, there will be a new space of cooperation in the spheres of new energy sources, the environmental protection and banking services.

The just-concluded forum on Sino-African exchanges is only a new beginning for bilateral exchanges in academic circles, noted Chinese and overseas participants, who expressed the conviction that there would be such exchanges in more diverse forms and with much more substantial contents and fruitful outcome.

Concerning the "Exchange Program", Professor Mohamed Salih from the International Institute of Social Studies in Hague, Netherlands, said that the academic exchanges between China and Africa are "historic" and "very important" to both sides, whereas the director of the Africa Institute of South Africa referred to the grand event as "very productive".

By People's Daily Online and contributed by PD reporter Wang Nan

(Editor:张心意)

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