•China-Africa Institute was inaugurated on April 9, 2019, with a mandate to draw on Chinese and African academic think tanks, to enhance mutual learning between the two civilizations.
•As we all ponder and explore ways forward for our homelands towards greater prosperity, we will find new sources of inspiration in our collaborative efforts
An ongoing seminar on Chinese Modernisation and China-Africa Joint Development has hailed given a detailed account of the gains both partners have made so far in their two-decade partnership.
Organised by the China-Africa Institute (CAI) of the University of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (UCASS), the 10-day seminar has brought together African participants drawn mainly from the continent’s academia and government training schools.
The seminar marks a significant milestone in the friendship and cooperation between China and Africa and is aimed at sharing knowledge and experiences, with the common goal of enhancing the understanding of China’s unique path towards modernisation. Further, the seminar aims at exploring opportunities for mutually beneficial cooperation between China and Africa.
China’s remarkable achievements in modernisation over the past decades have been an inspiration to the world. The Chinese people’s unwavering commitment to progress, innovation, and inclusive development has transformed the country into a global powerhouse. As African nations strive for their own sustainable development, the Chinese experience provides valuable lessons and insights.
Since 2009, these programmes have expanded the horizon of decision-making consulting and analysis, enriched policy tools and evaluation systems, and provided valuable theories and methods for policy research and social practices in relevant fields of developing countries. They have received high praise from the chief advisors and relevant departments of the participating countries.
For a long time, China has provided assistance to African countries to the best of its ability. And Africa has also offered strong support for China. In particular, the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), established in 2000 on the initiative of many parties, has become an important platform for collective dialogue and an effective mechanism for practical cooperation.
The prospects of in-depth cooperation, extensive exchanges, and common development between China and Africa are becoming ever brighter. At the 2018 Beijing Summit of FOCAC, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced the establishment of China-Africa Institute for in-depth research on the subject of cooperation and development.
Driven by this major strategic plan, the China-Africa Institute was inaugurated on April 9, 2019, with a mandate to draw on Chinese and African academic think tanks, to enhance mutual learning between the two civilizations and to strengthen exchanges of our experience in governance and development.
It strives to pool insights and suggestions on cooperation between the two sides and joint collaboration with other parties, while enhancing the mutual understanding and friendship between China and Africa. It seeks to provide intellectual and talent support for the Belt and Road Initiative, and for comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership between China and Africa, jointly building a closer China-Africa community with a shared future.
To engage extensively in academic exchanges is a guiding principle of CAI. The international interactions of the Institute have been taking place in numerous countries and regions across Africa. It has maintained close ties with social science institutes, academic groups, colleges and universities, foundations and government agencies in Africa and signed agreements with numerous countries and regions on academic exchanges.
Political and academic dignitaries from African countries have visited and lectured at the Institute. Officials from African embassies and ‘consulates in China, representatives of international institutions and overseas journalists are also among the regular visitors for academic conversations. As a platform for dialogues, the Institute has actively engaged in academic exchanges to send the messages of China to Africa and introduce Africa to China, through Africa Lecture, China Lecture, and Ambassador Lecture.
Such frequent exchanges have not only served to promote African studies in China, but also contributed to mutual understanding and friendly cooperation. The aim is to foster stronger China-Africa relations. Moreover, CAI hopes to establish long-term and stable academic exchanges and collaborations with African institutions.
CAI has successfully rolled out numerous high-level online training programmes, especially since the outbreaks of Covid, helping UCASS to gather extensive experience in educational endeavours with a positive social impact.
The ongoing seminar is inspiring and an opportunity for mutual learning. It will also usher in greater prospects for UCASS and African local governments in theoretical research and academic exchanges. As we all ponder and explore ways forward for our homelands towards greater prosperity, we will find new source of inspiration in our collaborative efforts, bringing the shared vision of common development for China and Africa into reality.
Stephen Ndegwa is the Executive Director of South-South Dialogues, a Nairobi-based communications development think tank.