Africa-China Relations: Don Calls For More Investment In Research

An Associate Professor, Efem Ubi, Acting Director of Research and Studies, at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), has urged African governments to invest in and support funding of research, in Africa-China relations.

Such investment, according to him, brings closer relationships and information between both parties, to help solve challenges

Ubi asserted at the first Nigeria Africa-China Research Group conference, held in collaboration with the Faculty of Social Sciences, Lagos State University (LASU), on Tuesday, in Lagos.

The theme of the conference was “Knowledge (re)production and the academe in Africa-China research space”.

“We need to know that all funding for research in this area comes from Western countries and China, hence, the control.

“Research, especially from the African side, should decenter China focus more on the African side of the relationship,” Ubi said.

He added that the major problem with researching Africa-China was the lack of access to data and information, especially on China’s side.

“On the contrary, it is easier for Chinese to access data and information from other countries.

“The lack of information stems from the failure of shared knowledge with the public on both sides vis-à-vis the issues in discussion.

“The result is that the public who have to depend on other sources for their information, more or less from the roadside, are entrenched with misinformation, a situation which has to do with misleading information.

“This is further given impetus by the social media and even some mainstream media,” Ubi said.

Ms Yan Yuqing, Consul General of China, said that the conference was of great significance, aimed to jointly broaden exchanges between Chinese and African academics

Yuqing said that it would also facilitate China and Africa sharing and learning from each other’s successful ways of development, to enhance the mutual understanding and friendship between the countries.

“This year marks the 75th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

“During the seventy-five years of exploration and practice, China has found a way of development that is suited to its conditions – the path of Socialism with Chinese characteristics.

“China-Africa relations have been long-lasting and rewarding, again because we have found the right path to cooperation,” she said.

Yuqing said that China supports Africa’s agricultural modernisation, which made it launch the plan for China-Africa cooperation on talent development to support African integration.

“We are more than ever looking forward to the new summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), to be held in Beijing in September.

“It will draw up a new blueprint for promoting a higher level of China-Africa community with a shared future.

“We are ready to work with African countries to discuss together, build together, and share the benefits.

“In the course of China-Africa cooperation, academia should further play a unique role in knowledge reproduction and theory reinvention,” she said.

Dr Mark Obeng, Executive Board, Chinese in Africa and Africans in China(CA/AC) Research Network, called for the sustainability of the programme, which brings more collaboration between the two countries.

Obeng, a senior lecturer of Sociology at the University of Ghana, Legon, said that their network mission was to help move the global conversation about China-Africa forward critically and constructively.

“Our primary goals are to facilitate intellectual exchange, promote academic research, and share information about engagements between China and the African continent.

“We have over 10,000 academicians such as lecturers, researchers and even students in our network which helps them get grants for more research,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that about 60 presentations were delivered by scholars from over 34 universities across and outside Nigeria for the conference.

NiACReG is a local network chapter (LNC) of the global Chinese in Africa and Africans in China (CA/AC) Research Network based at Michigan State University.

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