Africa needs a coherent policy towards China and India, given the growing relationship between it and the two emerging economic giants of Asia, participants at the World Economic Forum on Africa have suggested.
Participants at a plenary session on the second day of the forum which is being held in Cape Town, South Africa, identified the possibility of using the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) framework of the African Union (AU) as the platform for shaping such an approach.
NEPAD is a strategic framework for African renewal which was launched by the AU in 2001 to address the continent's development challenges on the basis of the principles of good governance and mutual accountability.
The panellists argued that NEPAD's functions matched the aspirations that Africa had in its relations with China and India.
The President of Tanzania, Mr Jakaya M. Kikwete, said the two countries should not be viewed as competitors or clients, but as contributors to Africa's development.
“China and India give Africa the hope that it is possible to transform our nations from abject poverty to higher levels of development,” he added.
The South African Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Mandisi Mpahlwa, also said Africa needed to clarify its nature of our relationship, adding that “NEPAD must be the centrepiece of our engagement”.
The Chief Executive of NEPAD Secretariat in South Africa, Mr Firminio Mucavele, stressed that given the shift in the economic centre of gravity from the West to Asia, “a new kind of co-operation” was needed. “The platform for it to exist. The framework should be NEPAD.”
The panellists agreed that both China and India served as models for Africa, because their experiences held lessons for developing countries on how to manage gradual economic and political transformation.
According to the participants, those two countries offered opportunities, markets, technology and many other things that Africa needed in its development agenda.
The World Economic Forum on Africa, which opened on Wednesday, brought together more than 700 business, government and civil society leaders to discuss how Africa is “going for growth”. — Credit: World Economic Forum.