President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe and President Hu Jintao of the People's Republic of China during a trip to that socialist nation. Zimbabwe has developed closer ties with the PRC over the decades., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Western propaganda stifles China-Zim relations
Saturday, 27 August 2011 21:53
Zimbabwe Sunday Mail
By Kuda Bwititi
WITH the relations between China and Africa on a crescendo, new obstacles have emerged to stifle the bond between the world’s fastest-growing economy and the developing continent.
The plinth of these obstacles is the damaging Western propaganda tailored to taint the great strides that have been made in cementing co-operation between China and Africa.
In Zimbabwe, this propaganda is manifest in many spheres, particularly the negative sentiments around Chinese expertise.
Youths, in particular, have been at the receiving end of this misinformation, which is literally shoved down their throats owing to the West’s ever-pervasive machinations, on the one hand, and the gullibility of our people, on the other.
Addressing a seminar on Strengthening China-Africa and China-Zimbabwe Relations in Harare on Wednesday last week, visiting chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and vice-president of the Chinese People’s Association for Peace and Disarmament (CPAPD) Professor Li Wuwei said Western propaganda provides the biggest threat to Sino-Africa relations.
Professor Li said the West has painted a picture that China is colonising Africa, an accusation that is far from the truth.
“We should look at the relationship between Africa and China through the right lenses,” he said.
“The West intends to portray our relationship as that of a new coloniser of Africa, but this is far from the truth.
“Relations between China and Zimbabwe as well as China and Africa are of mutual benefit.
“So, we should not let anyone tell us otherwise. Despite the great distance and the oceans between China and Africa, we are one because we have been victims of colonialism.”
Prof Li said youth-oriented programmes were the missing link in the growing relations between the two nations.
“It seems youths have been most affected by the Western propaganda as they have not been willing to partake of Sino-Zim co-operation.
“Youths from both countries should explore fresh areas of engagement so that the strong relations between the two countries can be transferred from generation to generation.”
He noted that although strategic ties between China and Africa have been strong, there is room for improvement.
“The friendly exchanges between China and Africa are yet to meet our expectations.
“It is important to strengthen the exchange between the people, especially between the youths.”
Prof Li said his country has provided investment to the tune of US$1 trillion since the turn of the millennium.
He said this is despite the global financial crisis that has blighted Western Europe as well as the United States.
“Despite the global financial crisis, China has increased its assistance to Africa and has honoured all the recommendations it made at the China-Africa Summit held in Namibia recently,” he said.
He said in 2009, China invested US$500 million in infrastructure development alone and channelled a further US$30 million towards other investments. In 2010, Chinese investment contributed to the continent’s 100 percent average growth rate.
Prof Li said local youths should explore fresh avenues of co-operation with China. He said the Forum on China-Africa Co-operation (Focac) was a major achievement as it was an important platform for strategic relations.
Speaking at the seminar, Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment Minister Cde Saviour Kasukuwere said youths should be exposed to the strategic partnerships between Zimbabwe and China.
“In Zimbabwe, we have developed a strong youth development policy and youth empowerment initiatives including the setting up of the Zimbabwe Youth Council and programmes like the Child Parliament where youth debate issues that affect them and contribute possible solutions,” he said.
“We support China-Zimbabwe youth-to-youth collaboration and partnerships in areas such as joint youth-in-business initiatives, joint youth cultural associations, university and school-twinning and inter-country exchange programmes.”
Cde Kasukuwere said Zimbabwe could draw many lessons from China in the implementation of the indigenisation and economic empowerment programme.
“As we seek to take our own ‘Great Leap Forward’ in indigenising our economy and empowering our citizens, we intend to tap into the Chinese experience in building a culture that supports entrepreneurship,” he said.
He said Zimbabwe’s agricultural sector has benefited immensely from investment by China.
“We value the support China has given to our Land Reform Programme by providing mechanical equipment that enabled newly resettled farmers to boost their agricultural production levels.
“Chinese companies have also opened markets for our agricultural products with China becoming the biggest buyer of Zimbabwean tobacco over the past two years.
“We support efforts for further co-operation in the agriculture sector with China possibly coming in as a partner in agricultural infrastructure development, agro-processing initiatives and opening further opportunities for marketing other agricultural products like cotton, fruit and vegetables.”
With Zimbabwe’s mining industry enjoying a purple patch because of the impact of diamond mining as well as the firming of metal prices on global markets, China had a key role to play in developing the mining sector.
This can be done through the setting up of mining-processing industries that add value to all minerals.
Minister Kasukuwere said China, the largest producer of wind and solar power in the world, could guide Zimbabwe in the setting up of alternative sources of energy.
“Over the years, Zimbabwe has experienced problems with its energy and power supply seriously hindering our efforts to revive the economy.
“We, thus, need to look at ways of entering into partnerships that expand and boost our existing production levels.”
The minister said Zimbabwe could also tap into China’s expertise in the railway sector. The Asian country has the fastest train and the largest high speed rail network.
Zimbabwe Youth Council director Mr Livingstone Dzikira identified four key areas of co-operation between Zimbabwe and China.
These are natural resources, technological transfer, skills development and youth exchange programmes.
Zimbabwe’s former envoy to China, Ambassador Christopher Mutsvangwa, said Zimbabwe should seriously consider using the yuan, as this would help facilitate bilateral trade between the two countries.
Ambassador Mutsvangwa, speaking at the same seminar hosted by the Southern Africa Research and Documentation Centre, said Zimbabwe could lay claim to being the fastest-growing economy in Africa because of the Look East Policy and its strategic partnerships with China.
He said China had strengthened Africa’s status on the globe.
“In the past, the West used to shun Africa.
“They were pessimistic about investing in Africa, but China has proved the doomsayers wrong,” he said.
“Westerners are flocking to Africa and following the footsteps of China.”
The alliance between Zimbabwe and China at the United Nations and other international fora had helped fend off sustained attacks from Western countries. China has also continued to support the development of Zimbabwe’s military and security institutions, thereby contributing to the country’s peace, security and stability.
-The Sunday Mail