More and more African countries seem to have taken inspiration from China’s unique economic development over the past decades and try to follow the development paths that suit their own respective domestic conditions.
“The African people have the most say on which path suits Africa best,” said Chinese President Xi Jinping at the China-Africa Leaders’ Dialogue held in South Africa’s Johannesburg in late August. “Advancing modernization through integration is the independent choice made by African countries and people,” Xi added.
A study released last year by the Inter Region Economic Network, a leading independent African think tank, showed that China’s cooperation with Africa was highly recognized by Africans for infrastructure construction, quick decision making, and timely completion of engineering projects.
According to David Monyae, a Director of the Centre for Africa–China Studies at the University of Johannesburg, “adopting foreign concepts without adaptation led to catastrophic development outcomes in regions like Africa, Latin America, and parts of Asia.” Monyae has also observed that “as wary and astute students of history, the Chinese leaders have insisted on modernization with Chinese characteristics. This means modernizing Chinese institutions and societies based on Chinese history, culture, values and national conditions.” Despite being rich in resources and boasting a large population and a vast market, Africa has remained the world’s poorest continent.
African countries need to expand industrialization, promote infrastructure development and trade networks and invest in human capital like China did. “Obviously, by default, in almost every country in Africa, our conversations are Western-led or Western-engineered. But because the information flow is very easy now, people could really appreciate different voices and new perspectives,” said Paul Frimpong, Executive Director of the Africa-China Center for Policy and Advisory, a Ghana-based think tank. Professor Monyae concurs, saying that “for South Africa and the rest of the African continent, China’s modernization proved that there are alternative models of modernization.”
Source: The North Africa Post