African countries have been told that they should not expect China to train their citizens in areas that China has developed expertise, because it does not want Africa to compete with it.
Prof. Stephen Chan, Professor of International Relations, School of Oriental Studies, London, who was speaking at a pre-event of the Eighth African Development Forum (ADF VIII) on South-South relations on the theme, “Harnessing Mineral Resources for Africa’s Development: The Role of South-South Cooperation” (United Nations Economic Commission for Africa), told African countries not to expect China to train their citizens in the areas that it is specialising in.
Later in an exclusive interview with ghanabusinessnews.com he explained his position further.
“I think that Africa needs more training, but it must be specified to those that are prepared to finance or to provide the assistance for this training,” he said.
“Very often you get donor countries that don’t provide you with the training that you need, partly because they are worried that if they do provide the training that you need, you will become a competitor in the long term with them,” he added.
Prof. Chan challenged Africa to be bold and specify a long term future, and be mindful that the future is changing.
“Looking at the electronics industry for instance, it is changing very fast and the Chinese want to corner that market for themselves, and so it will take a lot of negotiations to persuade them to train you to become their competitor,” he said.
He argued that even if the Chinese would train Africans in the sector, “they will train you at a very low level.
He said the Chinese are now exploring very advanced technology like nano technology, and African universities and research institutions have no capacity to train undergraduates in such things.
“But Africans can drive hard bargains with the Chinese. For instance, It should not be impossible for an African country to host a Chinese factory that manufactures electronics goods, such as computers,” he said.
Asked about how African countries can have value for the investments that the Chinese are making on the continent, he said, “There has to be a trade off, in other words you don’t have to say, we would accept what you give us. Say we would want to have an arrangement with you, and we would want you to give us this,” he advised.
Earlier during the meeting Prof. Chan asked if African countries would continue to sell their resources raw to the South, just as they did with the North?
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia