Africa has to make the best of China ties

Updated: 2014-06-16 07:07

By Andrew Moody and Wang Chao (China Daily)

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Africa has to make the best of China ties

Trading blocs are key to continent's economic growth, says academic

Sergio Chichava insists it is up to Africans to get the best out of their new relationship with China.

The 39-year-old Mozambican academic argues the responsibility lies with governments across the continent to shape a new partnership.

"I think the Chinese have opened their doors to Africa and now it is for Africans to show how to benefit from this Chinese openness. This really depends on Africa itself. It is not a Chinese matter."

Chichava was speaking in the offices of the Instituto de Estudos Sociais e Economicos where he is a senior researcher.

The white-painted offices in the palm-tree lined Avenida Patrice Lumumba in Maputo, a stone's throw from the Indian Ocean, appear a Portuguese colonial legacy but were built about the time of Mozambique's independence in 1975.

Chichava, relaxed and confident, has just edited a book, China and Mozambique: From Comrades to Capitalists, with Chris Alden, professor of international relations at the London School of Economics and a leading China-Africa expert. It includes chapters from no fewer than 10 authors, including the co-editors.

The book looks at Mozambique - a much-studied African country in the West - in the context of the growing economic relationship between China and Africa, which saw mutual trade increase from just $10 billion in 2000 to more than $200 billion in 2013.

"One of the aims of the book was to look at how the relationship between China and Mozambique has evolved," he says.

"As the title of the book suggests we wanted to look at how it had changed from before independence when many of the freedom fighters of Frelimo (now Mozambique's ruling party) visited China and forged strong links with the Communist Party of China to the more business-orientated relationship we have today."

Chichava says that one of the conclusions was that Mozambicans are open to China's involvement in their country.

"People as a whole do not blame the Chinese presence in Mozambique. The main issue for them is if they see local elites benefiting from the relationship. That is where any difficulty lies."

Chichava is emerging as one of Mozambique's most prominent academics with a number of papers published in international academic publications and journals. Last year he held an African research fellowship at the London School of Economics. In 2008, he was visiting fellow at the Oxford Research Network Programme at Oxford University.

Africa has to make the best of China ties Africa has to make the best of China ties
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