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Special Feature

Teach African leaders how to fish

…A Liberian lecturer insists, as Chinese, African academics debate critical issues in Beijing

Liberia official representative to this year’s international research policy forum (China-Africa Think Tanks Forum), Assistant Professor

Josephus Moses Gray of the University of Liberia Graduate School of International Studies has proposed that China use the next FOCAC’s Summit

to tech African leaders how to fish than simply give African leaders the fish. He recommends that the issue of economic and political

“management, be at the top of the agenda of FOCAC next summit planned for Dakar, Senegal. The China-Africa Think Tanks Forum was established by

the Institute of African Studies at Zhejiang Normal University in 2011 and was officially incorporated into the framework of FOCAC in 2012.
It has become a fixed mechanism for China-Africa civil dialogue and an event for the institute to further develop African Studies with

Chinese characteristics. It has since become policy and research-driven and has enlarged consensus by open dialogue and debates. The China-

Africa think Tanks Forum is an international podium of academicism, intellectualism, displayed theses, debates, exchange of ideas, innovations,

and discourse.

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In his power-point presentation at the recent at Eighth Meeting of the China-Africa Think Tanks Forum the UL professor stressed the need

African state actors and policy-makers to formulate ideas and policies that marched the continent best practices and values, and not the

western concept. He said the new era of Sino-African relationship should usher in a new era of socio-economic benefits and win-win cooperation

that great impact on the lives of millions on ordinary Chinese and Africans. He wants China to pay key attention to Africa’s economic plead for

help which calls for our extra care.

According to him, African leaders and governments to govern in line with constitutionalism, respect the rule of law and the will of the

people and explained the importance of African leaders showing commitment to international best practices, respect for democratic governance,

institute policy based on shared values and principles.
He delivered a presentation on the topic: New Era of China-Africa Friendship and Cooperation: A Unique Opportunity towards Building a

Great Community with a Shared Future. Professor Gray’s presentation placed emphasis on the current international situations, solidarity, and

cooperation among developing countries, the course of development of China-Africa relations, and how to build an even stronger community with a

shared future. A reporter of the Liberia Broadcasting System (LBS), Mr. Francis Pelena who is in Beijing on a year studies program attended

group one plenary session.

Professor Gray indicated that According to Prof. Gray, Africa should emulate China’s amazing 70 years of development agenda to develop

the continent’s labor industrials and youthful population. He told the deluges that China is not only is an important driving force of global

economic growth but also makes a significant contribution to global order in promoting interconnectivity between countries and regions.
In order to help ease Africa’s economic apathy and development gape, Prof. Gray reminded the delegates that the construction of a community

of shared future for mankind entails instituting the right policy at the right time by the right people at the right place. He said those at

the helm of leadership on the continent must be proactive, not reactive pay keen attention to Chinese innovations, industrialization, and win-

win diplomacy. “China and Africa have shared historic facts-China is the world’s faster developing economic and hold the world’s largest

population, while Africa is the host of abundant rich natural resources, brilliant cultures, hard-working, talented and courageous people and

a significant contributor to the advancement of human civilization and world development. Africa is one of the cradles of mankind”, Prof. Gray

has indicated The Eighth Meeting of the China-Africa Think Tanks Forum was hosted by the Secretariat of the Chinese Follow-up Committee of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and organized by the China Institute of International Studies at Zhejiang Normal University in collaboration with the Chines government.

The three-day intensive international research policy forum (China-Africa Think Tanks Forum) brought together more than 400 proven

academics including professors, scholars, renowned researchers, senior policy-makers, ambassadors and emissaries of the African diplomatic

corps in Beijing and senior media specialists representing over 50 media institutions and organizations in China. The global forum took place

at the Fangfei Hall, Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing. The forum which was conducted under a unique spirit and atmosphere displayed

intellectualism and academicism and, was characterized with debates, discourses, and presentations, with intellects and academic being on


The gorgeous and elegant opening ceremony was chaired by Prof. Dr. Jiang Guojun, Chairman of Zhejiang Normal University, while the

official address was delivered by Mr. Chen Xiaodong, Assistant Minister of Chinese Foreign Affairs, followed by a welcoming statement by Prof.

Jiang of the Zhejiang Normal University. While the African Union Representative to China, Ambassador Rahamtalla Mohamed Osman Elnor delivered

a special message on behalf of the African Union.

Other speakers at the attractive ceremony were Mr. RuanZongze, Executive Vice President of China Institute of International Studies; Mr.

Kimonyo Jean Paul, advisor at the Office of the President of Rwanda, Dr. Han Hongmei, President of China-Africa Fund for Industrial

Cooperation and Prof. Dr. AmadouFalilouNdiaye, an established professor at the University of Dakar, Senegal.

The gorgeous ceremony was followed by two-day exhaustive plenary sessions divided into three distinguished groups based on the Forum three

major topics. The opening address of the first plenary session of Group One held at the Peony Hall of Fanghua Garden under the topic: “Jointly

building a Closer Community of Shared Future between China and Africa” was delivered by the official representative of the Liberian academic

realm to the 2019 China-Africa Think Tanks Forum, Professor Josephus Moses Gray, Assistant Professor of International relations at the

IbrahamBadamasiBabangida (IBB) Graduate Program of International Studies of the University of Liberia.

The plenary session of group one moderator was Prof. ToureMahamane, Director of the Center for Strategic Studies of the Ministry of

Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of Mali. While Group Two was topic: Aligning the Belt and Road Initiative with

African union Agenda 2063”, was chaired by Prof. Joseph AlimamyTurary , Vice-Chancellor of the University of Makeni, Sierra Leone. The plenary

session of Group Three held under the topic: China-Africa Think Tanks and Media Cooperation and increasing the voices of China and Africa, was

chaired by Prof. Liu Hongwu, Dean of the Institute of African Studies of Zhejiang Normal University.

Other speakers of the official ceremony included Mr. Liu Guijin, former Special Representative of the Chinese Government for African

Affairs and former Chinese Ambassador to South Africa; Mr. Nyamitwe Willy, senior advisor at the Office of the President of Burundi; Prof.

Wang Yiwei of the School of International Studies at Renmin University of China; Prof. PhilaniMthembu, Executive Director of the Institute for

Global Dialogue of South Africa; Prf. Wu Qimin, Deputy Director of International Department of the People’s Daily, and Prof. Bouchiba Nasser,

President of Africa China Cooperation Association for Development.

The various debaters’ speeches provided their ideas from different perspectives on how to fully implement the ten fundamental principles

of China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and AU Agenda 2063, and how to strengthen the think tanks cooperation between China and Africa, and how to

integrate the Belt and Road Initiative and the AU Agenda 2063.

Professor Gray disclosed that China not only is an important driving force of global economic growth but also makes a significant

contribution to global order in promoting interconnectivity between countries and regions. The UL professor disclosed that China has

accomplished what took developed countries hundreds of years to accomplish and become an upper-middle-income country from a low-income one,

saying that China has overcome the great divergence of development among different countries formed after the first industrial revolution and

made a miraculous economic catch-up from behind.

In his power-point presentation which shows areas of China’s intervention on the African continent, Dr. Gray said China has

accomplished what took developed countries hundreds of years to accomplish and become an upper-middle-income country from a low-income one.

China has overcome the great divergence of development among different countries formed after the first industrial revolution and made a

miraculous economic catch-up from behind, saying that China’s remarkable jump has been made from an impoverished society which only depended

on sufficient food and clothing to a flourishing society in the world. The state now plays a better role in the international arena due to its

improved socio-economic situation.

In his presentation, Professor Gray reiterated that Africa cannot achieve peace and development in isolation from the world, and the

world needs Africa for stability and prosperity, and Africa needs the world, saying that the world should assist in a peaceful, stable and

constantly developing Africa. He urged delegates to the China-Africa Think Tanks Forum to engage in intensive research in the areas of socio-

economic, innovations, technological, developmental, cultural and social driven. He proposed the establishment of China-Africa think Tanks

Network across Africa five regions and in the continent 55 states and the various cities in China to help strengthen and promote the BRI and

FOCAC through the existing China-Africa friendship and cooperation.

Going further, Professor Gray urged Africa Union to give consideration to the establishment of AU think tanks network to help promote

the AU Agenda 2063 to support the exchange of ideas in critical areas especially in the areas of leadership management and political and

economic governance. In his instructive research paper, Prof. Gray contended that if the network is established, it will undertake research

and help to identify priority areas of interest. Professor Gray used the forum to provide some equilibriums of China-Liberia outstanding

amazing friendship which has been a win-win situation and further discussed how China and Liberia shared similar experiences, both having

suffered from aggression, plunder and enslavement by expansionism and colonization.

According to him, Liberia’s political history as concerns of democratic governance from the period of Independence to presence has

experienced several difficulties resulting in several factors-both internal or external political maneuvering, and arms twisting. He reminded

his colleagues that that good development depends on good governance and unique social order depends on strong government and strong

industrials, cautioning that Africa should not focus on what industrials take away but what Africa can gain from industrials for human

development and general growth of the African continent.

Meanwhile, African delegates visited the People’s Daily headquarters and used the occasion to visit the paper’s online newsroom, studio, and

other sections. The delegates also visited Beijing’s Urban Planning Exhibition Hall where the entire city of Beijing is put on displayed and

the movie was exhibited showing how the city of Beijing was established.

The Forum received wide attention from dozens of important mainstream media from across the globe including European, America, Middle East

China and Africa. There were more than 40 media outlets of 35 African countries attended and covered the conference, including

TélévisionTogolaise, Jornal de Angola, Gambia Radio & Television, Namibia Daily News, AgenceNigerienne de Presse, Liberia Broadcasting System,

Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation, Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation, La Gazette des Comores.

The media include China Central Television, China Radio International, Xinhua News Agency, People’s Daily, Guang Ming Daily, China Daily,

and Chinese Social Sciences Today. Over 100 established Chinese media outlets provided coverage of the forum while Chinese students enrolling

in international studies from the various universities also attended the plenary sessions and were very active, posing thought questions to the

African delegates.

At the end of the activities, the three groups consented to work towards together in harmony to build a closer China-Africa Community

with a Shared Future, navigate the Belt and Road Initiative toward greater success, fully implementing the Eight Major Actions of China-Africa

Cooperation, the AU Agenda 2013.

The speeches provided composed contrast to western journalists’ blustery demeanor and anti-China-Africa’s relations. The various speeches of

the African scholars and academics precisely offered a sharp reaction to the global outdated, anti-China-Africa perception, and recounted the

numerous benefits of the ties existing between China and Africa especially in the content socio-economic and infrastructure development and

win-win cooperation.

Interestingly, the scholars used the international podium to vehemently counter the western media anti-China-Africa propaganda and stressed

the exchange ideas on promoting China-Africa cooperation in industrial capacity, infrastructure, socio-economic development and agriculture,

ways of increasing the voice of Asian and African countries in the international stage, the establishment of think tanks in every African

states to enhance the roles Chinese and African think tanks played in political and economic development, and the exchange of professors.

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