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Oxfam’s Africa- China Dialogue Platform Programme Successfully launched

Oxfam International launched Africa-China Dialogue Platform (ACDP) on 2nd March 2016 at Sheraton Addis Hotel in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  The launch comprised of a day-long technical seminar and a high-level diplomatic cocktail reception. The opening session of the programme launch was graced by the presence of Ambassador Kuang Weilin, Head of Mission, China Permanent Mission to the African Union, and Dr. Arkebe Oqubay, Minister, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister of Ethiopia among others.   Over 100 participants including ambassadors, representatives of governments, the African Union, United Nations, international organizations, civil society and media participated in the launch event following a day-long seminar on the Africa-China partnership. The seminar comprised of an opening and three sessions that interrogated issues around, the scope, trends, opportunities and challenges in the Africa-China engagement for development; the role of China in overseas foreign direct investment (OFDI) and sustainable agriculture in Africa; and making Africa-China engagement work for Africa’s sustainable development and assessing its regional impacts.

Major Outcomes of the Programme Launch and the Seminar among others were:

  • Agricultural cooperation is a key component in China’s support to Africa under Forum on China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). Technical support and technology transfer are provided through agricultural demonstration centres. Most African countries prefer development cooperation as compared to aid. There is a gap, however, in ensuring the agricultural demonstration centre to align with Africa’s context. One reason is that the Chinese agricultural officials didn’t know Africa well.
  • Africa needs help to increase yield not to increase scale. It is important to ensure that China’s agricultural extensions support meets with the needs of African farmers and local Africa context.
  • There is often a challenge to bring in the voice of communities in national government’s negotiation for foreign direct investment. It is important to advocate for greater transparency in the negotiation and engage communities in the process.
  • There is need for more detailed research on individual countries, at the level of particular value chains to understand the real impacts of China on Africa’s development.
  • Related issues that affect China-Africa relationship in agriculture development such as infrastructure development, water and sanitation, climate change (how China and other partners like US help climate related challenges), agro processing and value addition on agriculture products must be investigated.

It was also noted that the Africa-China cooperation in agriculture needs to be aligned to existing Continental Agricultural transformation agenda whose flagship mechanisms are Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP Commitment) and Agenda 2063. CAADP is a framework implemented in all AU member States for implementing agriculture-led investment plans and programmes for enhancing food and nutrition security, eliminate hunger, reduce poverty and accelerate economic growth.

“Africa needs help to increase yield not to increase scale. It is important to ensure that China’s agricultural extensions support meets with the needs of African farmers and local Africa context.”

Objectives, Focus Areas and Planned Activities of the Programme:

The Africa-China Dialogue platform aimed to encourage and facilitate a constructive engagement and dialogue of citizens, policy makers, researchers and other stakeholders on the growing partnership between Africa and China. We seek to generate knowledge in order to influence policies and practices that relate to the Africa–China partnership. In this regard, we are developing specific streams of work including policy research, knowledge generation, management and dissemination. The short term focus areas of the platform are agricultural cooperation, climate change, sustainable development goals (SDGs) and peace and security. The platform while looking at the continent in general, it will have a focus on countries from the five sub-regions that have the most Chinese involvement. Planned activities of the platform are:

  1. Producing policy based research, knowledge production, and documentation.
  2. Quarterly policy dialogue/seminar to promote informed debate and dialogue by leading practitioners, scholars and civil society actors on the various dimensions of Africa-China relationship. Subsequent report of the roundtable with detailed expert discussion, opinions and views on different aspects of Africa-China partnership will follow.
  • Special events such as biennial Africa-China workshop on topical issues. The workshop will bring together regional, sub-regional, national stakeholders both from Africa and China side.
  1. Facilitation of exchange of ideas and knowledge among different stakeholders; showcasing best practices; understanding what works and what doesn’t work; assessing the progress the continent is making on Africa-China relationship.
  2. Media engagement and policy advocacy.
  3. Monthly Newsletter.

“The Africa-China Dialogue platform aimed to encourage and facilitate a constructive engagement and dialogue of citizens, policy makers, researchers and other stakeholders on the growing partnership between Africa and China.”