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Xi visit crucial for China-Africa ties says envoy
March 19, 2013, 9:56 am


Zhong says the new president’s visit could be an opportunity to announce his country’s policies for Africa in the coming years [Xinhua]

The impending visit of China’s new leader Xi Jinping to Africa might be critical to the continent’s future development, says Zhong Jianhua, a special envoy of the People’s Republic of China in Africa.

“There could be an address for the Chinese policy for this continent. And that address or speech, could be critical.” Zhong said.

Zhong said he believes President Xi’s visit could be an opportunity for the Chinese leader to announce his country’s policies for Africa in the coming years.

He was addressing a press conference at the Chinese Embassy in Abuja.

Xi Jinping is attending the BRICS Summit later this month in Durban, South Africa.

The Chinese president is likely to meet with other African leaders to discuss how to strengthen the Sino-Africa ties during his stay on the continent, according to the special envoy.

“In the last few editions of FOCAC, the agricultural exchange was being mentioned again and again. The government is doing more and more on that. The number of African students studying in China keeps increasing but it’s not quite enough.

“We think we need to do more on that. It can only be increased step-by-step and also the number of Chinese students coming into this continent is also increasing,” he added.

Zhong said the Sino-Africa cooperation has also helped in integrating more Chinese companies into African countries, a development which has made it possible for some of the firms to be localised.

“As Chinese government, we encourage Chinese companies to become localized because we fully understand that without the localization, the Chinese companies cannot stay here for long,” he said.

“We don’t want short term investment. When we do it, we want it as a long term one. So, localization is always encouraged by the Chinese government,” he explained, noting there are a few obstacles in that area of development.

Zhong said China needs to build cultural ties with Africa as well.

“We need to learn more about African culture, which we lack for quite a long time and we need to have more Chinese intellectuals learning about African culture because without good cultural exchange, you cannot very well understand your partners.

“Misunderstanding sometimes could be very dangerous and disastrous. The government pays quite good attention to this cultural exchanges,” he added.


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