Exercise more transparency in your engagement with African Countries — IEA urges China


Report By Bernard K DADZIE

The Director of Governance and Administration at the Institute of Economic Affairs, Dr. Samuel Darkwa, has championed the call for more transparency to exist in the engagements between China and African countries.

According to him, there have been situations where there have been conflicts between African countries and China due to such a thing and has therefore called for more openness in the details of infrastructural contracts.

Using the classic cases of the Nairobi-Mombasa Railway project built by China, he said Kenya agreed to benefit from almost 50 of the project in terms of resources and this should be the ideal way of doing things.

Dr. Samuel Darkwa, made this observation during an IEA-China Symposium on the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), on the theme, “FOCAC – A New Paradigm of Development Cooperation” and on the topic, “FOCAC as a Vehicle for Infrastructural Development in Africa.”

Dr. Samuel Darkwa was addressing the specific topic of “Chinese Infrastructural Development in Africa: A Case Study of Kenya and Zambia.” Noting that “What China and Africa have to do together is that there should be more transparency and if that happens, getting in debt traps will not happen”.

Participants at the symposium also shared ideas about some of the projects that have been undertaken by China, in Ghana, and how they have not particularly involved a lot of the local indigenes. Other participants highlighted the points that there is the need to clarify the mindset that China is offering Africa freebies when in fact, these are just loans that are eventually paid back.

Some argued that China also benefits from being in Africa, for instance, China’s over 60 years in Ghana, a lot of things needed to be changed so that more locals can benefit from their projects, including representation at management levels.

FOCAC was set up to address pitfalls associated with the ODA, including infrastructure, energy, industrial, health, and medical advancement, trade and finance, and are being initiated in various forms in other countries. And also to promote economic and social cooperation between Africa and China. It has been around for over 20 years.

H.E. Lu Kun, Chinese Ambassador to the Republic of Ghana, stated in categorically that Ghana is among the earliest countries in sub-Sahara Africa to establish diplomatic ties with China.

Adding that in September 2018, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo paid a state visit to China and held bilateral talks with President Xi Jinping. The two heads of state delineated the blueprint of the future China-Ghana relations.

This to him, after the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic, China and Ghana united as brothers and supported each other. Ghana voiced its support to China since China firstly reported the pandemic last year. China ardently helped Ghana fighting the virus by providing a large mount of anti-pandemic supplies.

The first chartered flight containing anti-pandemic supplies donated by the Chinese government to Africa chose Ghana as its first destination. All these facts have proved that the political relations of our two countries is at the forefront of China-Africa relations.The economic and trade exchange between China and Ghana has been flourishing,” he added.

Ambassador Lu Kun, making his presentation by Zoom indicated that China is Ghana’s biggest trading partner and foreign investment source. In 2020, the bilateral trade increased, instead of reduced despite of the pandemic. In the first half of 2021, the bilateral trade volume amounted to 4.382 billion U.S. dollars, a year-on-year increase of 23.8%.

Stressing that China-invested airline company, power plant, steel company, ceramic company, cement factory, tomato juice factory and paper diaper factory make significant contributions to creating jobs and promoting developments in Ghana. Six lots of the Sinohydro projects are forging ahead remarkably.

China-aided projects including Phase II of University of Health and Allied Sciences in Ho, Jamestown Fishing Port Complex, the Annex Building of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration are making steady progress. The people-to-people exchanges and cooperation between the two countries have developed in depth.

H.E. Lu Kun, revealed that two Confucius Institutes were established at the University of Ghana and the University of Cape Coast, and a Chinese Section was set up at the University of Ghana, more than ten thousand Ghanaian students are studying Chinese in Ghana. And over 6500 Ghanaian students are studying in China, ranking the second among African countries.

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