Chakwera says Africa, China have not utilized partnership to full potential

Malawi President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera has lamented failure by Africa and China to utilize their partnership to the full potential, stating that the two have only scratched the surface of their relationship.

Chakwera made the sentiments on Thursday during the third China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo, which is underway in the Chinese City of Changsha.

The Malawi leader said it is an indisputable fact that China and Africa are not only indispensable players in the global economy, but are also partners in the shared and common pursuit of prosperity against many structural odds stacked against them.

Chakwera, Chinese VP Han Zheng agree to strengthen bilateral relations, trade

“China and Africa represent one-third of the global population, which translates to one-third of the world’s consumers of goods and services that are traded anywhere in the world.

“In that context, China and Africa represent one-fifth of the world’s GDP. Now, while this means that the multi-faceted partnership between China and Africa in developmental and economic matters is a reality that no one can wish away, we must also recognize the fact that we have only scratched the surface of this partnership’s potential for the growth and health of the global economy,” he said.

Chakwera therefore thanked Chinese President Xi Jinping for initiating the establishment of the China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo at the third Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in September 2018.

He also commended the government and the people of Hunan Province for treating Africa leaders with with dignity, not as beggars, but as traders, ‘for the desire in their relationship with any country is to come as partners seeking our rightful stake in the prosperous future that partnerships like this will create for the world in the coming years and decades’.

“I do not mean to suggest that the partnership between China and Africa has yet to bear fruit. Over the years, the CAETE alone has strengthened and increased economic and trade cooperation between these two great regions, resulting in the implementation of numerous projects towards sustainable development.

“Similarly, this 3rd CAETE will no doubt further invigorate and build on past successes and take the Africa-China economic and trade cooperation to higher levels.

“All I am saying is that while the benefits of the economic partnership between China and Africa have been visible and incremental, the time has come for us to imagine a new kind of partnership whose economic dividends are exponential.

“So when we say that the theme of this 3rd CAETE is “Common Development for a Shared Future”, we must imagine a future in which the economic growth emanating from the partnership between China and Africa is not one that moves by baby steps, but by leaps and bounds. This is not only desirable, but necessary, for at least three reasons,” he said.

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