Regional exchanges become a new force in Sino-African cooperation

BEIJING, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- In recent years, the collaboration between China and African nations has flourished, propelled by initiatives like the Belt and Road Initiative and frameworks such as the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. This collaboration has encompassed many sectors, including trade, infrastructure and rising living standards.

Within this pragmatic cooperation context, Chinese provinces like Jiangsu, Hunan, Hubei, Zhejiang and Fujian have propelled cooperation, forged local platforms and leveraged their industrial strengths and regional attributes, achieving remarkable outcomes.

"The regional cooperation between China and Africa can fully leverage regional strengths and promote bilateral complementarity," said Zhou Ping, deputy director general of the Department of African Affairs of the Foreign Ministry, during the 2023 Cooperation Conference Between Jiangsu and African Countries, which was recently convened in the city of Zhenjiang, east China's Jiangsu Province.

Elia George Kaiyamo, the Namibian ambassador to China, expressed appreciation for agricultural cooperation projects between Jiangsu and Africa, noting that advanced Chinese technologies would assist African countries in developing their own agriculture.

While visiting a workshop at the premises of Jiangsu World Agriculture Machinery Co., Ltd. in Zhenjiang, Phuti Joyce Tsipa, the consul general of the Republic of South Africa in Shanghai, lauded the advanced technology she observed.

"These machines are fantastic. We hope that more of these outstanding agricultural machinery companies will come to aid Africa in the path towards agricultural modernization," said Tsipa.

In October last year, the inaugural ceremony of Kenya's first demonstration village for China-Africa agricultural development and poverty reduction was held in Matangi Tisa, Nakuru County. Led by Nanjing Agricultural University, this project stands as a testament to agricultural cooperation between the two nations.

By introducing the innovative "Chelalang" bean variety and implementing an efficient irrigation system, this project is poised to bring substantial benefits to approximately 200 farmers.

Hu Feng, vice president of Nanjing Agricultural University, underscored the project's mission, saying, "Our objective is to increase the bean yield from 1500 to 2700 kg/ha, thereby helping local farmers escape poverty."

In Gaoqiao Grand Market, located in Hunan Province's capital of Changsha, a wide variety of products from various African countries can be found, such as essential oils from Madagascar, coffee beans from Ethiopia, wood carvings from Zimbabwe and wine from South Africa.

Hunan has become an economic "hotspot" after it hosted the China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo. The Gaoqiao Grand Market in Changsha is a bustling hub of commerce, home to 9,100 merchants and serves as a prime example of Hunan's thriving trade relationship with Africa.

In 2022, its trade volume with Africa reached 3.1 billion yuan (about 425.1 million U.S. dollars), marking an impressive 302 percent escalation compared to the previous year.

In recent years, Hubei Province in central China has leveraged its own scientific research advantages to foster and advance innovative technological collaboration with Africa.

The 2023 China-Africa Innovation Cooperation and Development Forum and Hubei International Technology Exchange Conference in early July held in the provincial capital Wuhan witnessed the signing of 20 scientific and technological cooperation projects.

Two weeks later, the second China-Africa Youth Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition convened in Wuhan. It focused on the digital economy, industrial manufacturing and modern agriculture, among others, stimulating the innovative and entrepreneurial vigor of young Chinese and Africans and thereby promoting trade and human exchanges between the two sides.

"Among all Guinea's partners, China is the best," said Aminata Koita, ambassador of the Republic of Guinea to China, during her June visit to Nanjing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen.

She indicated that Guinea possesses abundant human and mineral resources, and the two countries have great potential for cooperation. "I hope China can bring advanced technologies to Guinea."