China-Africa Think Tanks Forum Closing Remarks
By Joel Netshitenzhe
16 April 2016
I should start off by acknowledging the leadership of the party and the People's Government of Yiwu City and the Zheijang University, as well as the distinguished colleagues from Africa and further afield. We are indebted to both the City and the University for the excellent organisation of this 5th Meeting of the China-Africa Think Tanks Forum.
Their hospitality and organisation, including the identification of themes and sub-themes, allowed us to interrogate critical issues, as Africa and China take our economies to higher and qualitatively better trajectories of development.
Our challenge, as always, is to ensure that the outcome of the discussions infuses strategy and policy-making within both the public and private sectors.
I wish, from a personal perspective, to draw some of the strands from the discussions.
The fundamental question is: are the strategic objectives being pursued by China and Africa complementary!
As we know, China seeks to create an economy with advanced productive forces and humane social relations. In the current period it is reconfiguring its economy to focus more on high-end manufacturing and services, premised on consumer demand.
Africa seeks similarly to build a prosperous continent based on inclusive growth, sustainable development and social relations that unleash the potential of all Africans, including women and youth. As was emphasised during the sessions, sub-Saharan Africa has been one of the global epicentres of economic growth; and the rate should start climbing back to above 4% in the coming year.
We heard that, contrary to common wisdom, these objectives of China and Africa are not contradictory; but can be aligned. The alignment however is not a given – it requires agency on the part of think tanks, states and the private sector.
To read more: CATTF by Joel Netshitenzhe.pdf