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Web conference visualizes African development

Author  :  WU NAN     Source  :    Chinese Social Sciences Today     2020-10-03

NANJING—Experts shed light on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the African economy and society at a webinar on Sept. 18.

“The sudden outbreak of the pandemic has exerted a profound global impact,” said Qi Guoqiang, executive vice chairman of the Chinese Research Society of African Affairs. We must strengthen our confidence and promote follow-up projects from the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, conducting in-depth research on the pandemic’s impact on the economic and social development of Africa while reshaping China-Africa cooperation.

Carrying out China-Africa cooperation will help support Africa’s economic growth and people’s livelihoods, said Sun Shuzhong, former Chinese ambassador to Morocco. On the basis of continuously optimizing the domestic industrial chain, China should appropriately adjust its investment structure in Africa. Being market-oriented and resource-oriented, China needs to establish a production system which provides marketable products in Africa, upholding a mutually beneficial cooperation model.

The blue economy should be a focus of China-Africa cooperation, Sun continued. More cooperation projects need to be facilitated, such as those concerning marine fishing, marine aquaculture, marine transportation, deep-water ports, marine environmental protection, and port industrial parks.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, Africa’s digital economy has seen significant growth, and the online agricultural product export platform has become the most popular among agricultural product transactions. The prospects for China-Africa digital economic cooperation are broad.

Speaking of future China-Africa cooperation on poverty reduction, An Chunying, a research fellow at the Institute of West-Asian and African Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that China-Africa poverty alleviation cooperation can narrow the distance between Chinese and African people. Such cooperation needs to start with ensuring food security, and it is also important to build a knowledge sharing mechanism for China-Africa poverty alleviation.

In China-South Africa economic and trade cooperation, attention should be paid to the study of relevant laws and judicial systems in South Africa, said Lyu Jiangao, a professor from Nanjing Tech Law School. The South African legal system is a fusion of the civil law system and the common law system. The modern system and inherent traditions coexist and adapt to social changes in South Africa. The South African Constitution pays special attention to the judicial protection of economy, society and culture.

China should pay special attention to opening up new prospects for international economic cooperation, Qi said. In the context of the increasingly severe international trade and economic situation, it is necessary to rely on Belt and Road construction and other platforms to re-establish international trade and investment ties. The restoration of the global industrial chain needs to start with China. As China resumes work and production, the increase in exports will satisfy more global demand. The multilateral trading system must be strengthened.

Zhang Zhenke, director of the Institute of African Studies at Nanjing University, said that China-Africa cooperation needs to seek common discourse and interest as the African continent increases its focus on independent development, integration and sustainable development. While helping the African Union realize its Agenda 2063, China’s international cooperation capabilities can be enhanced. China-Africa cooperation should shift from emphasizing economic and trade cooperation to multi-targeted cooperation.

Editor: Yu Hui

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