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CPC congress drives hopes across Africa

By NDUMISO MLILO in Johannesburg, South Africa | China Daily | Updated: 2022-11-22 10:03
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Priority placed on continent keeps infrastructure in focus, forum hears

The outcomes of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China amount to a victory not only for China but also for South Africa and the rest of the continent, a South African legislator said.

Floyd Shivambu, a member of the national parliament, said the direction signaled at the congress, held in Beijing last month, makes clear that an even deeper friendship with China is in store.

"The CPC National Congress is one of the most important events in the world," he said. "President Xi Jinping prioritizes Africa and we have to take advantage of our friendship with China to improve many of our challenges. In the next five years, we have another chance to improve our infrastructure with China's help."

Shivambu made the comments while addressing a high-level symposium in Johannesburg that analyzed the Party congress. The event was organized recently by the Chinese Consul General in Johannesburg, Tang Zhongdong.

Shivambu spoke of the benefits that Africa has received as cooperation with China expands. He pointed to projects such as the TAZARA Railway, which connects Zambia and Tanzania; Kenya's Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway; and the Maputo Bay Bridge connecting South Africa with Mozambique. The Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway, linking the Ethiopian capital with Djibouti on the Red Sea, was also built by China, with the line helping to drive economic growth, he said.

Friendly relations

The election of the new leadership of the CPC means that South Africa and other developing countries will continue to enjoy friendly relations with China, with more improvements in infrastructure likely on the way as a result, he said.

"We want our government (of South Africa) to work with China and build a standard gauge railway line from Durban to Johannesburg," he said. "We also want our friend China to interlink Africa through more standard gauge railways.

"Agenda 2063 is intended to make the African continent become connected and we should pursue the standard gauge railway to link the entire continent," said Shivambu, referring to a development plan announced by the African Union.

He said African countries should work with China to industrialize and produce goods for the domestic and international markets, especially China with its vast population.

At the forum, Tang explained the processes of the CPC elections and the outcomes of the congress.

In comments to China Daily later, he said those outcomes from the Party congress will touch on the lives of people in many countries in Africa and throughout the developing world.

He said that China under the leadership of the CPC is willing to work with other countries in order to build a better world for all. Tang said the Party is ready to boost exchanges with all political parties and organizations and will respect their independence.

Emmanuel Matambo, research director at the University of Johannesburg's Centre for Africa-China Studies, is also among those who believe African countries should work with China to improve infrastructure and propel efforts to achieve greater integration in the region. Matambo said the Agenda 2063 development blueprint and the African Continental Free Trade Area can achieve the goals set for them with enhanced cooperation from China.

Bongani Baloyi, a member of Action SA, a South African political party, said the CPC can provide pragmatic lessons for African nations with the achievements posted over the five years since the previous Party congress.

The CPC is "futuristic" with its long-term plans and committed leaders, underpinned by a stable leadership, he said.

The writer is a freelance writer for China Daily.

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