Africa has a lot to learn from China in order to achieve faster economic growth, a Kenyan expert said on Thursday.
Cavince Adhere, an international relations researcher with a focus on China-Africa relations said in a commentary published in Kenya’s newspaper Daily Nation that beyond the allure of Chinese development assistance and investments in the continent, there are other key learning points that Africa could leverage in the coming decades to fulfill the aspirations outlined in Africa’s Agenda 2063.
“First is people-centered policy-making. Taking the cue from its revolution-ridden past, China has firmly placed the largest component of the population at the core of its policy deliberations and crafting,” Adhere said.
He observed that in Africa, development programs are often divorced from knowledge and spawned on political expediency instead of long-term returns.
“This has led to a plethora of poorly performing projects and heavy economic toll on the population,” he added.
The expert noted that China has embraced meritocracy and proven that it helps to weave a knowledge-based bureaucracy in managing national affairs.
“It reflects on the kinds of policies the government has developed,” he observed.
According to the researcher, the Asian nation has an unflagging commitment to the rule of law.
“Chinese understand their country’s basic laws and faithfully seek to abide by them. Africa has a big problem in managing the scourge of corruption in the public sector,” he revealed.
He said that to stem graft, mutually reinforcing systems like those in China are needed, adding that China has since 2012 jailed a large number of high-ranking party and military officials for graft.
He noted that through state competence, China has been able to learn from experiences of other countries and in the process borrowing and domesticating what has worked while eschewing the pitfalls.
“This is the case in a soaring industrial base, as well as marketization,” said Adhere, noting that a number of factors account for the positive perceptions of China in places like Africa.
“Top on the list is Beijing’s most comprehensive and far-reaching poverty reduction record in human history,” he added.
The expert noted that in the 1980s, China was home to the largest population living in extreme poverty but in just under three decades, it has turned around its economic fortunes, lifting millions out of poverty.
“This year, China is primed to shove away the last shackles of poverty and leap into a moderately prosperous society,” Adhere said.
He noted that the China brand has been well interwoven into Africa’s development fabric and its policy of non-interference in domestic affairs of African states has struck a special chord with Africa’s ruling elites. Enditem