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China, Africa to build new model for NGO cooperation

(Xinhua)

08:19, July 12, 2012

BEIJING, July 11 (Xinhua) -- Participants in the second China-Africa People's Forum called for the establishment of a new model for NGO cooperation between China and African countries.

About 300 delegates from China and 35 African states are attending the forum in Suzhou, a tourist resort and economic hub in east China.

NGOs from China and Africa should create a new cooperative model that conforms to the actual conditions of China and Africa, said Erfiki Hicham, a Moroccan student and doctor of international relations at Peking University.

Although western NGOs are widespread and have a long-term presence in Africa, the help they have given to African nations has not been sincere and their roles are limited, said Abdel Rahman Swar Al-Dahab, former president of Sudan.

"China's NGOs have provided sincere help for Africa," he said.

The China-Africa Brightness Action initiative, funded by Chinese enterprises and launched in 2010, has provided Sudanese patients with free eye surgery.

China's NGOs are playing a coordinating role in assisting Africa, particularly in the fields of agricultural technology and medical care, said Embark Moghli, director of the Morocco Association for Solidarity and Development.

However, NGOs from China and Africa still face many challenges in establishing a long-term and effective cooperative mechanism, said Deng Lan, an official from the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries.

Exchanges between the NGOs of both sides are imbalanced, said Deng, adding that China will study how to improve the management capabilities of African NGOs and ensure the sustainable development of cooperative projects, as well as the stability of funding sources.

Some African media coverage of China has been affected by the prejudices of western media, said He Wenping, director of the African Studies Section at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS). She suggested NGOs do more to help remove misunderstandings between the two sides.

NGO cooperation between China and Africa still needs further development to fully explore its potential, according to participants in the forum.

NGO cooperation between the two sides needs support from all social sectors, including government, enterprises and media, said Xu Wei, a scholar from the Development Research Center of the State Council.

The first China-Africa People's Forum was held in Nairobi, Kenya last year.

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