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Mutual gains to drive China-Africa relations

12-02-2010 16:06 BJT

NAIROBI, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) -- China-Africa relations are expected to grow further in the next decade fuelled by strong commitments from the both sides and Africa's need to protect infrastructure development and related gains it has achieved through friendship with China.

Kenya's government officials and foreign policy analysts told Xinhua that China has been able to build in relations with Africa and advance its development aid and loans without political conditions that dominated the EU and the U. S. economic and political dealings with the continent. "China has become the alternative partner for Africa. In the last 10 years, Africa with assistance from China has been able to do much more with less because Chinese technology is much cheaper compared to that of the West that Africa relied on before," said Leonard Kimani, the director of the economic sector at the National Economic Social Council (NESC), the think-tank that advises the Kenyan cabinet.

Speaking as China marks the 10th anniversary of Forum on China- Africa Cooperation, Kimani said overall, gains from cooperation with China especially in the areas of infrastructure and tourism is huge for Africa.

According to regional economic analysts, there was still room for more infrastructure investment in the East Africa which has been instrumental in regional integration.

They say Beijing should use the China-Africa Development fund (CAD), which was launched after the 2006 summit, to help channel more Chinese investment into Africa to identify suitable projects in Kenya.

Kimani said the decision by Chinese to concentrate on development in their relations with Africa has been a blessing for both entities. It is "visibly clear that the relations have benefits the common people in countries like Kenya," said Kimani.

He said however Africa should invest more in its trade negotiation skills, so that it is able to make the maximum benefit out of the growing relations. "Our negotiators must be able to use a lot of data, which is not the case today. Data is important because it facilitates simulation of a discussion point and this enables the negotiators to have a clear picture of how an issue may affect or benefit them, " he said. "We have seen trade negotiators using this data simulation and it's time for Africa to do the same."

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