Source: Global Times Published: 2018-9-2
Cooperation in e-commerce and agriculture between China and Africa would effectively help reduce poverty, realize inclusive growth and assist the continent in achieving sustainable development in the long-term, experts said at a forum held in Beijing on Friday.
The forum - the third China-Africa Youth Exchange Program on Poverty Reduction and Development - was hosted by the International Poverty Reduction Center in China ahead of the 2018 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, which is scheduled to run from Monday to Tuesday.
In the long run, African countries cannot rely on aid for development. Its internal growth capacity will be a very important factor in determining future development potential and prospects. Therefore, China ought to help African countries develop their abilities to achieve growth independently, and reducing poverty in Africa is an important first step, experts said at the forum.
"Africa has not bid farewell to poverty, and its status in the global economic system has not fundamentally changed. Behind this 'growth without development' phenomenon is the lack of inclusive growth in Africa. Now, nearly half of the African people still live below the UN-set poverty line," said Song Wei, associate researcher with the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation.
Song noted that to assist Africa in planning e-commerce development is significant for the continent to achieve inclusive growth, since "e-commerce helps integrate the least-developed countries into global value chains and help small- and medium-sized enterprises directly and effectively link up with overseas markets."
In June, the first national China-Africa e-commerce platform named ca-b2b.com was launched. International trade in sectors such as oil and gas, information and telecommunication technology, raw materials and automobile could be facilitated using the platform, domestic newspaper the National Business Daily (NBD) reported.
Song told the Global Times that to promote the further development of Africa's e-commerce industry, there's also a need to increase Africa's information and telecommunication technology infrastructure assistance, which could be done "by helping optical fiber telecommunications transmission network projects and strengthening the construction of telecommunications infrastructure in African countries."
NBD reported that Chinese companies like Huawei and ZTE have established telecommunication base stations for most countries in Africa. Huawei has also helped local operators to establish mobile payment systems.
In a bid to fully reduce poverty on the continent, experts also emphasized the importance of agriculture development where China could offer much experience.
"China's experience showed that no industrial development could be sustained without a robust agriculture sector," noted Cheng Cheng, an associate research fellow with the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China.
"China has developed rapidly in the past years, but before that, it took several decades for China to create a solid agricultural base for such development, which Africa could learn from," Cheng added.
Cheng Cheng is an associate research fellow with the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China.