Tanzania's Foreign Affairs minister Bernard Membe has downplayed criticism from Western countries over China-Africa relations. Mr Membe, who was speaking on Monday at the opening of a forum on China-Africa relations at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), noted that some western media and their countries were criticising relations between the continent and the Asian country. The forum, with the theme: “Chinese Dream, African Dream: Achieving Common Development Through Joint Efforts,” was meant to brainstorm on how the two parties could mutually benefit from their relations.
The West has been arguing that African countries would not benefit from the relations because China was not considering promotion of human rights and democracy on the continent. However, Mr Membe reiterated that China-Africa relations provided several benefits to the continent, giving an example of the construction of the Tanzania Zambia Railway (Tazara). The railway had been playing a very crucial economic role not only for Tanzania but also for some landlocked countries on the continent.
Mr Lu Shaye, the director for African Affairs Department in the Chinese ministry of Foreign Affairs, who attended the event, said development and prosperity were a common aspiration and historical mission of China and Africa. Lu told the two-day conference that China and Africa shared dreams of peace, development, independent efforts and rejuvenation.
“These dreams are ahead of us. The path is under our feet. We must make earnest and hard efforts to realize them,” he said.
The Chinese ambassador to Tanzania, Mr Lu Youqing, said: “We all know about the ‘American Dream’...yet it is not enough to have only the American Dream. There should be a Chinese Dream and an African Dream as well.” The Chinese envoy said both China and Africa were developing economies and shared wide common interests.
He said during the long historic period of struggle for national independence in the pursuit of development and national revival, China and Africa have always been a “community of shared destinies through bad and good times.”