China remains one of the strategic development partners for structural transformation in Africa, the African Union Commission (AUC) said.
A two-day conference on China and Africa is underway in Addis Ababa to enhance the development cooperation between the two sides.
In his opening speech, Special Adviser to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, Arkebe Oqubay said China is a ‘pragmatic and strategic development friend’ for African countries.
Noting that China is among the economies that grow fast, Arkebe said the country’s development experience is exemplary for Africa’s aspiration towards economic transformation.
Africa has been registering a 4.6 percent development over the last few years; however, Arkebe said the economy is suffering from lack of diversification. “It is the major bottleneck for having structural economic transformation in our continent.”
Arkebe urged the need for African countries to work on diversifying products to realize economic transformation.
Speaking to ENA Albert M. Muchanga, Commissioner for Trade and Industry at AUC said “great lesson can be learned from China that can lead into economic transformation in Africa.”
Chinese development cooperation in many investment areas has brought unprecedented growth and enabled the continent to be the second fast growing region after Asia.
However, Muchanga argued this growth remains insufficient to meet the expected growth rate of seven percent needed to achieve Agenda 2063, Africa’s blueprint program for socio-economic transformation for the coming five decades.
A number of challenges including poverty alleviation, job creation and diversifying export commodities remain in the continent challenging development.
“Today, one in three Africans – 422 million people – live below the global poverty line which represent 70 percent of the world’s poorest people,” he said.
Accordingly, encouraging Chinese investment and development cooperation is critical as China is the world’s second largest economy, he added.
Noting that China has advanced in artificial intelligence, big data, 5G telecommunications networking, among others, this experience can be beneficial for Africa.
“Breakthroughs in these fields can promote the development of our continent and stimulate competition. The African private sector can adopt some of these technologies to diversify production and collaboration with Chinese private sector in manufacturing local products.”