Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

China's helping hand welcome in Africa

By Fu Jing (China Daily) Updated: 2014-08-18 07:44

"Banshou, please."

This is part of simple conversation when a Chinese technician at a glass plant in Addis Ababa requests his Ethiopian co-worker pass him a spanner.

At first, the Ethiopian worker may not know what banshou means but he gets it after the Chinese technician, who doesn't know the local language, has repeated it several times and mimed using one. And in this way, the Ethiopian worker has learned his work duties on the modern glass production line, the first in Ethiopia, which is an investment by China's CGC Overseas Construction Group.

One Ethiopian's interesting way of learning by doing reflects the way in which many in this East African country are building a modern economy, while seeking their personal development, in the various projects undertaken by China.

To learn about how the Chinese company adjusted itself to the local culture, I stayed several nights in the company's dormitory at its Ethiopian headquarters.

In the company's workshops and dining hall, I saw the locals, from drivers, cooks, technicians to managers, consultants, and road project subcontractors, work side by side with their Chinese counterparts and benefit from the technologies and know-how.

They do the same work, and work under the same protection. No trace of lordly arrogance or servility is seen from either side.

Nor are the Chinese projects all aimed at "exploiting the resources of Africa", as some Western media would like to make their leaders believe.

The infrastructure and factories that the Chinese help build will stay where they are, and will never be shipped away like resources. So will the skills.

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