By SA News
Africa and China must accelerate efforts to find innovative and creative mechanisms to unblock any domestic regulatory and financial challenges to cooperation.
However, Africa also has the obligation to ensure the relevant levels of institutional readiness, capacities for delivery and feasibility of projects in order to meet the requirements and maximize on the potential.
This was the message by Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane who is co-chairing the Coordinators Meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), in Beijing.
South Africa and China are the co-chairs of the FOCAC until 2018.
The FOCAC Coordinators Meeting is assessing the progress in terms of implementation after the commitments made at the Johannesburg Summit of the FOCAC in December 2015.
The FOCAC meetings are aimed at reinforcing the historical solidarity of friendship through win-win cooperation that exists between the governments and people of Africa and China.
This refers, in particular to large infrastructure programs that complement those identified within the African Union’s vision for the next 50 years, Agenda 2063, as well as the 10 New Measures announced by President Xi Jinping to address the three main bottlenecks in African development.
For the plans to work, Minister Nkoana-Mashabane said the industrialization should be a centrepiece of this win-win collaboration and friendship by using comparative advantages.
Linked to this, the Minister said, is the need for both countries to beneficiate their natural and mineral resources.
“This has been identified as a significant driver of economic growth, not least because it will create jobs for our growing young population; contribute to feeder industries; and develop Africa’s capacity to generate higher value exports by allowing us to use the minerals in the belly of African soil to nourish the belly of the African child.”
The second step Minister Nkoana-Mashabane said must include increasing people-to-people exchanges and cooperating on training and skills development focusing in science, technology, engineering and mathematics as these are critical to supporting the implementation of our medium- to long- term FOCAC development goals.
“Thirdly, we must accelerate our work to ensure that Africa becomes self-sufficient in food production and supply by modernising agriculture, increasing productivity, engaging our communities and farmers, in a full value chain, including agro-processing and agro-business,” Minister Nkoana-Mashabane said.
She was also of the view that there can be no industrialisation without enhanced and clean and cost effective energy generation.
As such the Minister said the two sides need to use newer technologies such as wind, solar, geothermal, and hydro.
The last step, she said, is advancing efforts for common development through smoother and faster integration and connectedness.
Equally important is the need for China to open her market for Africa’s products and services, Minister Nkoana-Mashabane said.