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Navigating paths to China’s and Africa’s modernisation

--By Consul-General You Wenze, published on Cape Times, November 27

ON NOVEMBER 15, the Hong Ting Forum Dialogue in Cape Town brought together distinguished speakers and experts to discuss the modernisation paths of China and African nations.

This gathering was a testament to the enduring partnership between China and Africa and their shared aspirations for progress and prosperity. I would like to share some of my insights about the Hong Ting Forum on key areas such as cultural exchanges, technology and innovation, education and capacity building,economic and infrastructure development, environmental sustainability,and peace enhancement, providing a comprehensive understanding of the varied paths to modernisation.

Under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, the nation has embarked on a unique path towards modernisation, one that is deeply rooted in socialism with Chinese characteristics. This approach, harmoniously blending economic development with cultural and ecological considerations, has led to a transformative economic metamorphosis.

The strategic synthesis of state-led economic policies, significant investments in education and technology, and an unwavering commitment to infrastructure development have been key drivers of this success. This remarkable progress has propelled China to the status of the world’s second-largest economy, simultaneously lifting hundreds of millions out of poverty and becoming a model of transformation for the world.

Pursuing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, this Chinese path to modernisation is tailored to suit China’s national conditions while offering valuable insights and benefits to the global community, particularly to developing nations, including those in Africa.

African nations, with their rich cultural heritage and immense potential, are actively carving their own paths towards modernisation. As African nations embark on this journey, they are pursuing industrialisation and agricultural modernisation, drawing inspiration from various models, notably China’s experience. Recognising the distinct challenges and opportunities in Africa, China remains dedicated to supporting African countries in their developmental aspirations. This commitment is evident in initiatives like the Belt and Road Initiative and the expansion of BRICS, which are designed to foster infrastructure development, trade, and people-to-people exchanges.

The Hong Ting Forum highlighted the importance of recognising the diversity of challenges and opportunities in different nations and underscored that modernisation does not adhere to a one-size-fits-all model.

African countries have the unique chance to design strategies tailored to their specific contexts. They can draw upon successful models, including China’s, which emphasises innovation, cultural advancement, and ecological harmony.

This approach offers a blueprint for sustainable and inclusive growth that African nations can adapt to their unique circumstances, balancing the need for sustainable development, digital economy growth, and green development as critical areas of focus.

In today’s interconnected world, the destinies of nations are increasingly intertwined. China and African countries, through mutual support and collaboration, have the potential to create a robust model of South-South co-operation. This partnership,grounded in respect, equality, and shared benefits, not only contributes to the individual progress of China and Africa but also to global stability and prosperity.

Cultural exchanges form a vital part of our partnership, promoting mutual understanding and respect between the people of China and Africa. These exchanges, ranging from educational programmes to cultural festivals, facilitate a deeper appreciation of our rich and diverse heritages. They also serve as a bridge, connecting people and fostering a sense of global community.

In the sphere of technology and innovation, China and African nations have much to offer each other. Chinese technological advancements in areas like renewable energy, digital infrastructure and smart cities provide practical solutions to some of Africa's most pressing challenges. Conversely, Africa’s vibrant entrepreneurial spirit and growing tech industry offers excit-ing opportunities for Chinese investors and innovators.

Education and capacity building are cornerstones of our collaborative efforts. Initiatives that focus on education, professional training and skills development are crucial for empowering individuals and communities.These programmes not only enhance personal and professional growth but also contribute to the socio-economic development of our nations.

Economic integration and trade are other key areas of our partnership. By working together to remove trade barriers, standardise regulations, and create favourable conditions for business, we can boost economic growth and create new opportunities for entrepreneurs and businesses in China and Africa.

Environmental sustainability and green development are also critical components of our shared modernisation path. Collaborative efforts in green technology, sustainable agriculture and renewable energy are essential to ensure a healthy planet for future generations. China’s experience in large-scale environmental projects and Africa’s rich natural resources provide a unique opportunity for joint initiatives in this field.

Developing resilient infrastructure is a shared priority. Investment in transportation, communication, and energy infrastructure is crucial for enhancing connectivity and fostering economic growth. China’s expertise in infrastructure development, combined with Africa’s strategic geographical position, paves the way for significant advancements in this area.

Finally, peace and stability are foundational for any nation’s progress. Our collaboration extends to areas of governance, peacekeeping and conflict resolution. By sharing experiences and best practices in governance, and by supporting peace initiatives, China and Africa can contribute significantly to regional and global stability.

As we advance our co-operation,we are also mindful of the global challenges that require collective action. Issues such as climate change, public health and sustainable development are not confined to national borders. Our partnership provides a platform for addressing these issues, leveraging our combined strengths for the greater good.

The Hong Ting Forum reaffirms our collective responsibility to foster a world where every nation can pursue its path to modernisation while contributing positively to the global community.

As we navigate the complexities of the 21st century, China and African nations stand united in their commitment to a future marked by shared prosperity, sustainability, and enduring partnership.

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