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China-Africa cooperation 'thoroughfare' for Africa's development
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By Chen Shun

Africa is gaining "tremendous" benefits from China's development and China-Africa cooperation is the "thoroughfare" for the growth of Africa, says Malian writer Seydou Bodian.

Africa can eliminate poverty and underdevelopment by learning from the development experiences of China and by cooperating with the Asian country in various fields, Bodian said during an exclusive interview with Xinhua.

The economies of China and many African countries were on the same starting line 30 years ago but China developed rapidly after the reform and opening-up and establishment of the socialist market economic system, said Bodian, who visited China in the 1960s.

Bodian, who lives in Dakar, Senegal, suggested Africa introduce agricultural technologies including rice-planting technology from China, to enhance food supplies for the continent, which is not yet self-sufficient and has been stressed by recent increases in global food prices.

African countries should also import farming machinery and instruments from China, which are attractive both in price and quality, he said.

China, also an agricultural country, is feeding one-fourth of the world's population with its "rich farming production experiences," the writer pointed out.

Saying he was "heartily glad" over China-Africa farming cooperation in the framework of China-Africa Cooperation Forum, Bodian called the cooperation a "significant move benefiting the African people".

He called on Africa and China to cooperate in producing medicines against malaria, a disease that claims more than 1 million lives in Africa every year and causes annual economic losses amounting to 12 billion US dollars in the continent.

The cooperation, if realized, will be a "good fortune" for Africa, a continent with frequent disease outbreaks due to lack of prevention and control measures and expensive medicine prices, he noted.

At present, the most effective anti-malaria medicine used in Africa comes from China, said Bodian. Many anti-malaria medicines sold to Africa by the West are imported from China, he added. The Western drug makers just changed the packaging, he added.

On Africa's industrialization, Bodian said that Africa's economic model, based primarily on exporting primary products with low prices and importing high-price manufactured industrial products, have not changed fundamentally.

He suggested Africa, rich in natural resources such as iron ore, oil and aluminium bauxite, enlarge cooperation with China in manufacturing products to lower costs and use the saved foreign exchanges on infrastructure construction.

China's cooperation with African countries dates back a long time and has covered various fields, said Bodian.

The five textile factories, which China built in Mali more than 30 years ago, are running well and currently employ more than 1,700 local workers, he said.

In the Malian capital Bamako, three bridges over the Niger River and many roads in the city were all built with the help of China, which the Malian people are proud of, said Bodian.

The projects are just a miniature of China's aid in Africa's infrastructure construction, he added.

Bodian called on African countries to not ask for such aid from the West with exacting terms attached. He said they should be more active in conducting comprehensive cooperation with China to accelerate the development of the African continent.

Bodian, 81, is a writer with a high position in Africa's literary world. He has published many literary works, among which the anti-colonization works Sous I'orage and La Mort de Chaka are especially popular.

(Xinhua News Agency December 2, 2008)

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