As Africa strives to pull millions of its people out of poverty, commitments made at the Forum on China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) could play a vital role, a foreign policy expert here said.
African countries can align their poverty alleviation models with the China-Africa cooperation, Allawi Ssemanda, Executive Director of Development Watch Centre, a foreign policy think tank, said in an article published on Tuesday.
At the Eighth Ministerial Meeting of the FOCAC held in Senegal in November, African countries and China identified nine areas for China to fund and support.
The nine areas include peace and security, capacity building, people-to-people relations, poverty reduction and trade and investment promotion. The others are supporting medical and health programs, agricultural programs, green development and digital innovation.
Ssemanda suggested that policymakers engage China through the identified areas to reduce extreme poverty on the continent.
“China in this case can offer good lessons sharing with African governments on how they managed to eradicate poverty,” he said.
“Despite hardships developing countries face, China was able to eradicate extreme poverty among her huge population of 1.4 billion people and has consequently successfully built a moderately prosperous society,” he added.
Ssemanda said a recent economic and technical cooperation agreement between Uganda and China was the right move to improve the people’s livelihoods.
According to the Chinese embassy in Uganda, the agreement is part of efforts China announced at the FOCAC meeting to foster growth.
“We hope that we can focus more on handy and practical technology cooperation projects with fast and good effects on Ugandan people’s livelihood,” Zhang Lizhong, the Chinese ambassador, said on April 14, soon after signing the agreement with Matia Kasaija, Uganda’s finance minister.
Ssemanda said as Africa borrows development ideas from China, it must also consider the role of leadership in development.
“Arguably, we must note that for any country to develop — at least using China’s example, leadership plays a key role in development,” he said.
“Also, for any country to achieve meaningful development, people must be at the center of such development efforts. This helps ensure inclusive development, which is key in ensuring prosperity,” Ssemanda added.
He said policymakers and leaders must ensure that all projects taken under the FOCAC action plan for 2022-2024 reflect the interests of citizens and inclusive development.