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China's valuable lessons for Africa

By Yan Dongjie | China Daily Africa | Updated: 2017-11-12 15:24

Collaboration on education between China and Africa helps improve Africa's development and should be further enhanced, experts from both sides said during a Sino-African development cooperation session of the Beijing Forum 2017.

Scholars from China, the United States, Europe and Africa gathered in Beijing over the past weekend to discuss the emerging trend in Sino-African development cooperation. It's the African-themed part of the Beijing Forum 2017, the 14th of this international academic event co-sponsored by Peking University, the Beijing Commission of Education and the Korea Foundation for Advanced Studies.

Nahzeem Oluwafemi Mimiko, professor of political science at the Nigerian University of Obafemi Awolowo, said the general framework of Sino-African collaboration revolves around reducing the acute infrastructure deficit on the continent, implying that further prioritization of higher education is called for, based on his study "Dimensions of Sino-African Cooperation in Higher Education and Its Impact on National Development".

"China's framework for effecting collaboration among government, university and industry provides an adaptable template for Nigeria in its sustained efforts at reforming its universities and establishing an orientation for innovation and entrepreneurship," said Mimiko.

He called for more educational cooperation between China and Africa, especially nonstate, person-to-person contacts and engagements, which he said "ordinarily constitute the main arena for exchange of the finer elements of culture".

President Xi Jinping announced in December 2015 in Johannesburg, South Africa, that China would roll out 10 major plans to boost cooperation with Africa between 2016 and 2018, with education and human resources development as a priority.

According to the China-Africa Cooperation Johannesburg Action Plan (2016-18), China will establish a number of regional vocational education centers and several capacity-building colleges for Africa, train 200,000 technicians for African countries and provide the continent with 40,000 training opportunities in China.

Meanwhile, China will offer African students 2,000 education opportunities with degrees or diplomas and 30,000 government scholarships, and each year it will invite 200 African scholars to visit China and 500 young Africans to study there, while also training 1,000 media professionals.

The plans have been in action. Top universities in China, including Peking University, Beijing Foreign Studies University and Renmin University of China have opened special classes for African students and scholars, offering full scholarships and organizing suitable courses.

As one of the projects open to Africans in China, the Institute of South-South Cooperation and Development opened at Peking University in April last year. It provides degree education and nondegree executive training programs for midlevel to senior officials, as well as managers and researchers from government, academia, the media, NGOs and other organizations in developing countries.

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