Malawi attends China-Africa Forum, economic growth tops agenda

Malawi is among 50 African countries participating in Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) ministerial conference in Beijing, China with trade and economic growth topping the list of agenda.

The gathering, according to the People’s Republic of China Malawi Embassy, is vital platform for collective dialogue and effective mechanism for practical cooperation between China and Africa which has greatly helped advance China-Africa relations over the years.

Meanwhile, Chinese leader Hu Jintao will grace the opening ceremony Thursday July 19 in Beijing capital and will be joined by several other African Heads of state including newly elected African Union (AU) Commission Chairperson Dr. Nkosazana-Dlamini Zuma.

Jintao is also expected to meet the Malawi delegation that is being led by Economic Planning and Development Minister Atupele Muluzi and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Ephraim Mganda Chiume.

Muluzi said China’s immense influence in the world must rub positively of Africa to enable her to develop alongside other contents and that there should be “equity in transactions.”

Atupele Austin Muluzi: China’s immense influence in the world must rub positively of Africa to enable her to develop alongside other contents

Benefits of the summit

In an emailed response, Chinese Embassy Director of Political Section Wang Junchao told Nyasa Times that Malawian stands to benefit enormous from the summit through cementing of bilateral ties for the two countries.

“China-Malawian relations have also benefitted a lot from the FOCAC mechanism, under which a series of projects and programs have been or will be launched. We have built a secondary school in Tyolo area, and will build a primary school in Lilongwe. We will launch a solar pilot project, and drill 600 boreholes in six districts of Malawi,” said Junchao.

He added: “We have handed over some fertilizers and the first batch of anti-malaria drugs to the Malawian Government. You may have noted that this Monday there is a ground breaking ceremony of Agricultural Technology Demonstration Centre in Salima. The centre will cover an area of 50 hectares, comprising offices, classrooms, irrigation systems, experimental fields and livestock farms. Once completed, it can provide training programs to 300-500 local agricultural technicians.”

Training and scholarships

Meanwhile, Junchao also disclosed that China through the Malawi embassy would intensify training programs and scholarships to civil servants and the general public.

“Besides, we have intensified personnel training programs to enhance education and capacity building of Malawi. Every year, we provided around 30 government scholarships to Malawian students, and around 200 short-term training opportunities to Malawian people from all walks of life. At present, 15 members of the Chinese medical team are working in Kamuzu Central Hospital and Mzuzu Central Hospital,” stated Junchao.

New challenges

The diplomat was quick to point out that cooperation between the world’s second largest economy and Africa is not perfect.

He cited new circumstances and issues that are bound to emerge as its cooperation with African countries, hungry for economic prosperity, also grows.

“China-Africa cooperation is not perfect. New circumstances and new issues are bound to emerge as our cooperation deepens. However, they can be resolved through deeper cooperation and friendly consultation. We take these issues very seriously and stand ready to work with Africa to deal with them properly,” observed Junchao.

China has taken the world by huge surprise with its impressive economic surge that has seen majority of its 1.3 billion-population moving to urban areas as a result of economic boom.

Currently, China is regarded by many African states as role model following its economic turnaround within a 30 year period.

The multi-billion projects Chinese government is injecting into African governments has worried “the west” who accuse the South-east Asian country of shielding dictators.

But some analysts observe that the real reason the west fear for close China-Africa ties is for its own interests as China has proved beyond doubt that it’s willing to propel with her underdeveloped countries without any strings attached.

China also made its intentions clear of staying in the continent for good when it earlier this year unveiled a magnificent $200 million African Union (AU) headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia which resembles that of New York’s UN building.

FOCAC was launched in October 2000 and this year’s summit is being held under the theme; building on past achievements and opening up new prospects for the new type of China-Africa strategic partnership.

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