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The Academic Seminar on “African Key Countries Studies” Held in Beijing


The Academic Seminar on “African Key Countries Studies” Held in Beijing

 

 

On December 8, 2018, the academic seminar on “African Key Countries Studies”, hosted by Chinese Asian and African Society, was held in Institute of West-Asian and African Studies (IWAAS), CASS. More than forty experts and scholars, from Chinese Institute of International Studies, Chinese Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, Development Research Center of the State Council, Party School of the Central Committee of C.P.C, China-Africa Development Fund, Zhejiang Normal University, Nanjing University, Minzu University of China, Beijing Foreign Studies University, Hohai University, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Yangzhou University, attended the seminar. In addition, more than ten members from Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs presented the seminar.

Professor Li Xinfeng, Deputy Director of IWAAS, CASS, hosted the opening ceremony. Professor Zhang Hongming, President of Chinese Asian and African Society, made a speech. Xiao Han, Deputy Director-General of the Department of African Affairs of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, delivered a keynote speech.

 

Deputy Director-General Xiao Han made an interpretation of the 2018 Beijing Summit of Forum on China-Africa Cooperation from the aspects of basic information, significance, opportunities and challenges of the summit. He pointed out that the characteristics of 2018 Beijing Summit can be concluded as “high level and large scale”,“intensive activities and fruitful results”, “great influence and continuous fermentation of the Summit Effect”, and through the summit, China’s diplomatic concepts to Africa have an in-depth effect on the two peoples. Deputy Director-General Xiao Han introduced the specific outcomes of 2018 Beijing Summit and analyzed the opportunities and challenges faced by both sides amid the implementation of these outcomes. At last, Deputy Director-General Xiao Han put forward some suggestions on the Chinese African studies in the future.

 

After the keynote speech, the seminar entered into the part of panel discussions. This part was divided into five periods of time, each focusing on the theme of “African Key Countries Studies”.

The first period of panel discussions was chaired by Professor Zhang Zhenke, Director of Institute of African Studies, Nanjing University, and focused on Zimbabwe and Nigeria. Liu Guijin, Former Special Envoy of China on African Affairs and Counselor of Chinese Asian and African Society, indicated that Africa has a long way to explode its own development path through the analysis of recent changes of political situations in Kenya, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Ethiopia, and China should attach great importance to the image of Chinese people in Africa. Shen Xiaolei, Assistant Researcher of IWAAS, CASS, analyzed the relationship between ethnic issues and political development in Zimbabwe and stressed the impact of ethnic issues on political development in Zimbabwe in not prominent, but should not be ignored. Associate Researcher Li Wentao, Deputy Director of Institute of African Studies of CICIR analyzed the position and changes of geopolitcial strategy of Nigeria, and thought Nigeria is the country with the greatest potential in Africa. The position of Nigeria is the representative of Africa, with idealism and internationalism in its foreign policies. Associate Researcher Li Wengang, Director of Division of Social and Cultural Studies of IWAAS, CASS, analyzed the 2019 Nigeria’s General Election. It’s believed that the 2019 General Election will be a close election, and China-Nigeria relation will maintain the stable state no matter the leader of ruling party wins or the leader of the opposition party.

The second period was chaired by Professor Luo Jianbo, Director of Department of African Studies of Institute for International Strategic Studies of the Central Party School of C.P.C. Five scholars made the speeches focusing on issues of South Africa. Yang Lihua, Researcher of IWAAS and Counselor of Chinese Asian and African Society, analyzed the issue that how to get through the governance dilemma to revitalize development for South Africa. She also pointed out that there are serious corruption and fierce power struggle issues in South Africa and stressed the land issue in South Africa is a legacy of colonialism needed to be resolved in an orderly manner in accordance with the law. Zhu Weidong, Researcher of IWAAS, CASS, analyzed three important changes in South Africa’s investment law environment:the expansion of localization of legislation, the internationalization of dispute resolution and the modernization of arbitration resolution. He also indicated that the government behaviors should be separated from those of enterprises, and Chinese enterprises in Africa should use legal weapons to safeguard their rights and interests reasonably. Liu Naiya, Associate Researcher of IWAAS, analyzed the ethnic factors in the land reform in South Africa, and believed that the land reform is imperative and the key is how to carry out the land reform. Zhang Kai, Deputy Director of Editorial Office of Contemporary World, explored the development of party politics of South Africa since the 2008 Financial Crisis, and believed the competition among the political parties in South Africa became increasingly fierce. The key for African National Congress to maintain its dominance lies in the party unity and its ability to promote the sustainable economic development in South Africa. Shen Chen, Assistant Researcher of the Institute of World Economics and Politics, CASS, reviewed and looked into the foreign policy of the Ramaphosa administration, pointing out that Ramaphosa is adopting the relatively moderate foreign concept.

The third period was chaired by Professor Zhao Shurong, Director of Center for West African Studies of UESTC, and focused on the issues of the East African countries. Shu Zhan, Former Chinese Ambassador to Rwanda and Counselor of Chinese Asian and African Society, extended his analysis of Africa’s current independent development from the perspective of Rwanda’s indigenous concept of governance, and emphasized that African countries should learn the concepts of governance from their indigenous and traditional cultures and combine the outside cultures with the local. Zhao Jun, Associate Researcher of Institute of African Studies of Zhejiang Normal University, made a speech on the theme of ethnic boundary, power intervention and institutionalization in Rwanda. Li Xuedong, Lecturer of Institute of African Studies of Zhejiang Normal University, introduced the overall economic situation, the economic structures and the contribution rate of various industries in Uganda, and pointed out that there is a mismatch between Uganda’s social development and economic development, and Uganda should make reasonable and scientific industrial policies to promote industrial development. Professor Luo Jianbo, Director of Department of African Studies of Institute for International Strategic Studies of the Central Party School of C.P.C, believed that China should respect the African countries’ will of independent development and uphold the principle of equality between China and Africa when China carries out cooperation in Africa. Professor Tian Ze, Director of Center of “Belt and Road Initiative”and African Studies of Hohai University, analyzed the issues on China’s investment in Ethiopia under the Belt and Road Initiative ,and recognized the industrial production cooperation between China and Ethiopia. He also pointed out that the government should strengthen the top-level design, and the enterprises in Ethiopia should optimize their investment and form an industrial chain. Zhang Yongpeng, Researcher of IWAAS, analyzed the ethnic and realistic factors that led to the improvement of Ethiopia-Eritrea relation, and indicated that the two countries have deep relations in ethnics, religious culture, politics and economy. The improvement of relations is of positive significance to both countries.

 

 

The fourth period was chaired by Researcher Li Zhibiao, Director of Division of African Studies of IWAAS, CASS. Hao Rui, General Manager of Department of Research and Development and Director of Board Office of China-Africa Development Fund, analyzed the China-Djibouti economic cooperation, and pointed out that the main risks facing Djibouti include the debt risk, the increasingly complex geopolitical situation in the Horn of Africa, the limited fiscal revenue and so on. Associate Researcher Zeng Aiping, Deputy Director of Department for Developing Countries Studies of Chinese Institute of International Studies, analyzed the economic nationalism policies of the Magufuli administration in Tanzania, and believed that Tanzania should maintain a balance between protecting its own resources and protecting foreign investors. Wang Xuejun, Associate Researcher of Institute of African Studies of Zhejiang Normal University, analyzed the reconstruction of Somalia from the perspectives of local factors and outside intervention, and held the view that the conspiracy of outside power and internal clans led to the Somalia Clan State Alliance, a new and decentralized form of state. Fu Haina, Lecturer of Center For Sudan Studies of Yangzhou University, analyzed the Arab process and influence in Sudan.

 

The fifth period was chaired by Associate Researcher Zeng Aiping, Deputy Director of Department for Developing Countries Studies of Chinese Institute of International Studies. This period of seminar focused on DRC and Ghana, and the situation of Chinese African studies. Yuan Wu, Associate Researcher of IWAAS, CASS, believed that DRC faces some challenges in the process of state construction, such as separation of nation-state and history, social fragmentation, nationalism, and monopoly power of social groups. Guo Jia, Assistant Researcher of IWAAS, CASS, indicated that the DRC presidential election at the end of 2018 is still uncertain. Sun Hong, Assistant Researcher of CICIR Institute of African Studies, analyzed the political tendency of DRC, and believed that boosting economy should be the key field for the government. Professor Zhao Shurong, Director of Center for West African Studies of UESTC, demonstrated that decentralization could improve the supply of public services in Ghana, and decentralization is a complex process. Professor Zhang Zhenke, Director of Institute of African Studies of Nanjing University made the review on African Country Studies, and thought the development of African studies is rapid. Meanwhile, African studies also face challenges. The tripartite cooperation in Africa, African marine economy and others can be new study fields. Professor Sun Xiaomeng, Dean of School of Asian and African Studies of Beijing Foreign Studies University, discussed the language issues in African country studies and stressed the importance of African language studies in African studies. Liu Litao, Associate Professor of Institute of African Studies of Nanjing University, analyzed the cooperation between India and the Indian Ocean region of Africa, indicating that India has many economic and trade interests in the Indian Ocean region of Africa.

The last part of the seminar was chaired by Professor Zhang Hongming, President of Chinese Asian and African Society. In this part, the working arrangement of Chinese Asian and African Society was discussed. In his conclusion speech, Professor Zhang Hongming expressed his sincere expectations that all directors and members could participate in the activities of the society actively, contribute suggestions on how to make good use of this academic exchange platform, and make concert efforts to operate the society better.

 

The academic seminar on “African Key Countries Studies” was a complete success.

(Source: Jiang Tian)

 

 


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