The executive secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Dr Carlos Lopes, has called on African countries to follow the example of China in their development programmes.
“It is important to keep the spirit of the experience of China for, it involves two direct links with Africa,” he said in a PANA interview.
First, could Africa follow the same path for quick rural economic development, poverty reduction and industrialization, with regard to the fact that the emergence of China has changed the world economic growth? Second, which role can China play as Africa’s development partner?
As Africa has been recording good growth rate so far, the challenge is to make sure the growth is extended to other sectors such as the extractive sector and that it is inclusive and creates jobs.
Dr Lopez noted that many countries were making significant efforts in terms of economic diversification and industrialization and they benefit from the opportunity offered by Chinese products.
Citing the example of Ethiopia, Dr Lopes pointed out that Chinese investments were extended to other sectors such as raw materials, building and light industries, therefore giving hope to see the continent put on the development path like China.
Interactions between China, Africa and the other emerging economies have affected the continent in different ways. The way to conduct investments in Africa is more and more in accordance with the world economy, and particularly the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) bloc, he said.
Even if Africa exports more to BRICS countries, it is worth admitting that the import of products from the same countries has accelerated to the detriment of manufactured products by African companies, he said.
Dr Lopes said cheap products from emerging partner countries were dumped into African markets, presenting an obstacle to Africa’s industrialization which those partner countries did not have to face in their own way to development.
To make sure Africa can progress in the current world economy the same way China and other countries do, the African continent must mobilise its resources and speak of a single voice with its partners.