THE EXECUTIVE Director of the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), Ghana, Professor Emmanuel Gyimah-Boadi, has called on education authorities to include China studies in the country's education curricula.
He said given the growing importance and influence of China in most developing countries including Ghana, there was no alternative than to invest in the Chinese language, culture, institutions and political inclinations.
Prof Gyimah-Boadi, a political scientist and lecturer at the University of Ghana, made the call in an interview with DAILY GUIDE in the German city of Wiesbaden, near Frankfurt.
He was in that country as one of two moderators at the 3rd German-African Forum organized by German President Horst Koehler at the Eberbach Monastery Conference Centre in Eltville.
The Ghanaian scholar observed that “we know Americans and Europeans because we've dealt with them so much, but it is a completely blank space when dealing with China”.
On Sino-African relations, he said China had brought a greater element of competition “between Africa and the rest of the world. Now, instead of a two-way competition, there are more sellers. The reality is for us to know how much we get”.
In his view, no matter who Ghanaians or Africans were dealing with, “we have to be realistic to know what we really want. We don't have to sell ourselves short with Africa leaping without looking”.
The CDD boss said since Europeans did not come to Africa only as missionaries and charity givers, Africans should not expect the Chinese to be so either.
He said the presence of the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, at the conference, was a good showcase for Africa in general and Ghana in particular.
“The idea of an African king, who is an embodiment of the tradition and culture of people as a good showcase of African culture, was great”.
He maintained that the speech by the Asante monarch which emphasized that traditional rulers as custodians of culture should complement the work of the central government, was excellent.
Prof Gyimah-Boadi considered very impressive, the Asantehene's statement that because traditional rulers were not elected and did not have deadlines like politicians, they think about their communities in the long term.
The spontaneously long applause the Asantehene received after his dinner speech, Prof Gyimah-Boadi said, showed the impression made on the gathering.
He debunked claims that the forum was one of the numerous talk shows which usually take place in high political circles, arguing that the fact that the forum brought together some of Africa's best brains such as the author, Nuruddin Farah, meant it achieved something significant.
“It is not a mere talk shop. Among the leaders, there are bilateral negotiations. Though, it is a talk show, insights are found and solutions are sought.”
In all, five African leaders attended the forum under the “partnership with Africa” initiative of the German President, which was introduced two years ago.
They were Umar Musa Yar'Adua of Nigeria, Boni Yayi of Benin, Festus Mogae of Botswana, Marc Ravalomana of Madagascar and the Mozambican President, Amando Guebuza.
By Sylvanus Nana Kumi