China-Africa co-op built on 'peer-to-peer' relationship

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The cooperation between China and Africa has been largely a non-exploitative and peer-to-peer relationship built on mutual interests, a South African expert said.

"From World War II to the end of the Cold War, China's relationship with Africa could best be characterized as a partnership in liberation struggles. In essence, it was a political relationship based on a mutual interest in decolonization and national liberation," said Joseph Edozien, chairman of the South African New Economic Foundation.

The relationship had now also developed into one featuring mutual economic and commercial interests, the expert told Xinhua in a recent interview.

"Afro-Asian trade is expected to eventually dominate global trade and become the future foundation of the world commerce," he said.

Edozien views Africa's richness in natural resources as a perfect match for China's growing technological innovation potential and manufacturing capacity.

Meanwhile, the expert said "China needs to help Africa develop its geo-strategic ability to defend itself as a core element of the design of its long-term cooperation with Africa," the expert said.

On the cultural front, Edozien said there were many similarities Africa and China could capitalize on to strengthen their relationship further.

The Foundation chairman, whose organization seeks to develop new economic and financial models to promote poverty alleviation and economic justice, appreciated China's contribution to agriculture and infrastructure development in Africa.

He called on China to make large investments in African agricultural production to promote sustainable agricultural techniques and technologies.

"I want to see more local African innovations with Chinese technological assistance in design and manufacturing training and skills building," he said.

"In my view, the basis of Africa-China cooperation in the next interim should be resources for skills, in other words, natural resources from Africa in exchange for skill-building and technological infrastructure from China," the economics expert said.

"They should aim to enrich each other so as to maintain sustainability in the cooperation. We need to move from mutual growth to mutual development," Edozien told Xinhua.

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