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China to Africa: don’t copy and paste our growth model

By Taddeo Bwambale

Added 3rd May 2016 03:08 PM

Wang Heming, the deputy director general of the ruling Communist Party of China’s international department, African affairs bureau, says countries can learn from China but should adopt systems that suit their needs.

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Wang Heming, the deputy director general of the Communist Party of China (International Department), addressing visiting African journalists at the headquarters of the Communist Party of China in China’s capital, Beijing on Tuesday.

Wang Heming, the deputy director general of the ruling Communist Party of China’s international department, African affairs bureau, says countries can learn from China but should adopt systems that suit their needs.

With more African countries turning to China as a key trade and development ally, China is discouraging states from attempting to wholly replicate its growth model at home.

China has enjoyed 30 years of rapid transformation under the communist party leadership, reviled by the west as repressive yet its story is lauded as a model for developing countries.

Wang Heming, the deputy director general of the ruling Communist Party of China’s international department, African affairs bureau, says countries can learn from China but should adopt systems that suit their needs.

“The best advice we can give is that every country should keep its citizens’ interest in mind and at all times cultivate their support,” Wang told visiting African journalists at the party’s headquarters in Beijing on Tuesday.

Founded in 1921, the CPC is the world’s second largest political party with over 87.8 million members and maintains political ties with about 100 political parties in Africa.

Globally, CPC enjoys close ties with about 500 political parties in 160 countries, with at least 40 them in Africa, including Uganda with the National Resistance Movement (NRM) party.
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Wang says the focus of China’s party ties with Africa is to promote state-to-state relations through party relations, irrespective of a country’s political system of governance.

While China practices a brand of socialism yet most of its political allies in Africa adopted capitalism with neo-liberalist policies, Wang says his country’s bilateral ties transcend ideology.

“It does not matter whether one is communist or capitalist, right or left wing, developed or least developed; we can share governance experience and are keen to learn from Africa,” he says.

Different political, social systems

While most African states embraced a multi-party system of government, China has been under leadership of the CPC for the last 95 years, albeit with eight political parties in abeyance.

Wang says relations between the CPC and African political parties transcend ideological differences and said his party will not interfere with core governance principles of its partners.

“CPC has full respect for decisions taken by African countries. We have never been condescending or considered ourselves as ‘big brother,’ like some people have done” he stated.

But the party chief insists that no single model of governance is a perfect recipe for development, save for the need to constantly champion the interests of ordinary people.

“No political party is perfect. People make mistakes. But what has kept the CPC in power is the firm support from people and the ability to rectify own mistakes,” he explains.

Wang told journalists that his country’s political system has its unique advantages, especially in ensuring speedy implementation of development projects.

“Once decisions have been approved, we get down to work. That is why we have efficiency and fast development compared to other developing countries,” he says.

Wang says Africa and China should partner to champion the interests of developing countries in the face of pressure from the west across multiple fronts.

“China and Africa should support one another to resist pressure from western countries,” he says, noting that China-Africa close relations have repeatedly been chastised by the west.

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