Home » General » Look to East – to China – Mugabe Counsels Africa

ZIMBABWE President Robert Mugabe — in his capacity as the Chairman of the African Union (AU) — has aised all countries on the continent to back track their former reliance on Western countries and start working with the East, especially China, as new development partners.

According to Mr Mugabe, in dealing with countries like China, there are usually no strings attached unlike Western States that usually impose unrealistic conditions for their support.

“And even then, African states either end up losing badly or get incited into wars and conflicts before being declared failed states by the same Western friends turned foes, the Zimbabwean leader observed.

“In the past, real patriotic statesmen like the late Mwalimu Julius Nyerere saw this coming but few understood him. But now it is clear who our friends are and who are the people with hidden agendas,” pointed out President Mugabe.

Mr Mugabe was speaking here during the launch of the ongoing four-day African Youth Leadership Forum involving China and African Countries which was organised by the CCM youth wing, UV-CCM, and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Youth League and is being coordinated through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Relations.

The forum targets to bridge Sino- African cooperation through involvement by the young generation in governance and economic empowerment.

National CCM Chairman, President Jakaya Kikwete, turned up at the meeting, though briefly, and was earlier on quoted as saying that the importance of the Chinese connection in Africa’s development cannot be described by mere words, noting that Tanzania was a living example of that.

A Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office (Environment), Mr Stephen Masele, said the forum will also form a special network of young leaders as well as the youth entrepreneurs and scholars from Africa and China and through it, more opportunities for development are to be hatched.

“The forum has attracted into Arusha investors and leaders from Tanzania and many African countries who discussed ways of creating employment amongst the youth boosting development pace plus ensuring that the continent can also step up its trading capacity with the rapidly growing China.

Already local traders have started to take aantage of the Sino- African relationship”, Mr Masele remarked.

The relationship between Africa and China dates back 60 years ago and it was Tanzania, which initiated the link through welcoming Chinese medical practitioners from Beijing to work in the country as volunteer doctors before the relationship grew to include infrastructural development.

The construction of the Tanzania Zambia Railway line linking Dar es Salaam City with Kapirimposhi in Zambia remains a symbolic undertaking involving multi African states working with China for a common initiative.

The Arusha meeting discussed, among other things, ways of empowering African countries to start transforming their previously exported raw materials into finished products for added value before being shipped abroad for business.

China, which has brought over 150 delegates to the forum, will also assist Africa in processing, packaging and branding its minerals to fully benefit from them instead of the current situation in which most African states earn peanuts from gemstones and minerals due to the fact that western mining conglomerates control the whole process.

More than 400 participants from nearly 45 countries on the continent are attending the Sino-African Youth Leadership Forum, with 150 others coming from China.

Also in attendance are members of the business community, investors, young leaders and potential investors.

The Deputy Head and Political Counsellor in the Chinese Embassy, Mr Li Xuhang, said while similar meetings have been held here before, this was the first that has been addressing leadership and investment issues on same platform.

Source : Tanzania Daily News