African experts from diverse fields have called on various governments in Africa to ensure that they establish a mutually beneficial relationship with China in their future deals rather than continue to be a consuming continent.
This was their consensus at a webinar on China/Africa Connections tagged “China-Africa Relations, The Myths, The Lies, The Truth” which took place recently and was organised by Grand Synopsis Media.
“For me, having the Chinese in Africa is not a bad thing, but for any relationship, there supposed to be terms and conditions.” Said Judge Kunda- Zambia.
The experts were of the view that China’s technological advancement should be part of negotiation as a way of knowledge transfer instead of total dependence on China when comes to solving their technical and technological problems.
African leaders were also advised to harness the potentials being presented by Chinese companies to ensure that they they allow technology transfer and integration that will create a solid backing for the continent in order have a sustainable development within technical knowledge sector of our economy.
While delivering his presentation, Mr, Adeshina- Nigeria emphasised thus “We must borrow from China and adopt to our system. We must remove our import dependence and China should be our partner in training and technology transfer. “Innovation or technology cannot be just for its sake. Like earlier speakers have said, Africa today is where China was in 40 years ago”.He emphasised.
However, a large number of the experts dismissed the alleged spying allegation by China’s authority,they strongly believed it would require a clear cut evidence not just conventional wisdom to accuse China of such.
Similarly, many of the experts were unanimous on the need for China to be more open in dealings and to urgently correct those excesivness when approaching matters that concern Africa in order to create that lasting bond devoid of rancour and hatred being experienced whenever issues come up.
Dr. Okechukwu noted: “Another thing that we must understand here is the fact that relationship with China is a historic one and it gives an added opportunity”. He stated further “We have had to contend with a partner that is willing, but not able and a partner that is able but not willing. But, China is a partner that is able and willing. But, nobody is saying that”.“Like a former Chinese leader once said, ‘when you open your window to get some fresh air, some mosquitoes will come in the process, but a wise man should not shut the window’.He advised.
They also emphasised the need to leverage on China’s technological advancement which has opened much more opportunities for Africa compared to others before the coming of China.
“China has original equipment manufacturers such as Huawei and ZTE. At the other end, we have Ericson, the Motorola of this world and other technology companies, we never had it so good. But today, with the incursion of Chinese technology companies, we have seen the penetration of the internet and telephoning services deepening in diverse areas of Africa,” Said Dosunmu-Nigeria.
The experts however are on the same page that China had been in a situation like Nigeria before so she might be of help to Nigeria in her own quest to finding a lasting solution to her several challenges.
“So, one of the things we are going to learn from China is how they got out of the woods. How they got away with chronic underdevelopment and one of the models available is the Chinese model of Import substitution Industrialisation (ISI) Adeshina further emphasised.
Speakers at the webinar included Head of Department, Mass Communication, Crescent University, Abeokuta Dr Kola Adesina, Acting Director, Research and Training, Nigeria Institute of International Affairs Dr. Efem Ubi, a columnist and the Chief Executive Officer of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA-Kenya), a public policy think tank based in Kenya, Kwame Owino (Kenya); and the Dean of Admissions, Records and Financial Aid at T-SAP, Liberia Mr Jacob Cheategba Debee.
Also joined were Director of Centre for China Studies (CCS), Nigeria Dr. Onunaiju Charles Okechukwu, Judge Princess Kunda Tantameni from Zambia, a retired Diplomat and former Nigerian Ambassador to Brazil, Ambassador Vincent Okodion and a Nigerian Computer Scientist and Science Education professional, Oluwaseyi Rowland Dosunmu.