Sino – Africa Cooperation A Game Changer


The People’s Republic of China and Africa relations in the last few decades have become one of the most progressive and dynamic on the political, social and economic partnerships in the world.

In Africa projects worth billions of dollars have been planned for implementation ranging from road infrastructure, airports, energy, water and sanitation, aviation, manufacturing, mining and indeed, generous assistance to multi-lateral donations of infrastructure such as the construction of a multi-million African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

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There is no doubt that Sino-Africa relations are based on mutual benefits. These fundamental developments, for instance, are coming on the back of China having committed and availed $60 billion at the end of 2015 directed towards the industrialization and modernization of the continent. The value of trade between the People’s Republic of China and Africa had increased phenomenally totaling $200 billion in 2014. Apart from the $60 billion availed under the Forum for China-Africa Cooperation Summit in South Africa in December 2015, billions of dollars had already been poured into infrastructure development in different African countries.

This support is key to change the face of Africa in terms of trade. Generally, Africa’s development hinges on a number of things being addressed, and one of them being connectography which deals with connecting geographical transport infrastructure, communication networks and harmonizing policies internally to facilitate trade and investments within Africa and beyond.

The maddening paradox is that the continent’s sheer size and diversity of its landscape, present huge opportunities and challenges as well. In terms of size, the continent is poorly connected in terms of road, rail, air and sea infrastructure – which is one of its greatest barrier to its development, transformation, and modernization.

On a scale, the continent is largely landlocked with many countries cut off from air and sea ports, and the difficulty of moving goods from one country to the other weighs down the intra-continental trade which is estimated to be at a paltry 15% within Africa (African Development Bank, 2017).

In general terms, African citizens and consumers endure the brunt of these trade and commerce difficulties, coupled with trade and policy dissonance that also further limit cooperation between and among countries – but thanks to the 2018 Kigali African Union Summit at which African Heads of State acceded to the African Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA), an agreement cast in the same way as  the European Union, aimed at paving the way for a liberalized market for goods and services across the continent. It is important to note that Zimbabwe under the Presidency of Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa, signed the CFTA. Regionally, the government through the support of the Chinese companies is in the process of building road and energy infrastructure which will go a long way in ensuring industrialization, trade, and commerce to improve.

It is a fact that the costs of doing business are driven up by a host of factors which among other things include tariffs, border delays, delays in the movement of goods and corruption. However, the biggest challenge is that if there are no streamlined transport systems in terms of rail, road, and air, cargo will find it difficult to move from one region to the other in a situation where our economies are highly dependent. Thus, products fail to reach destinations on time, let alone perishables decaying along the way as a result of underdeveloped road and rail systems, which push up costs of doing business in Africa and drags down efficiencies.

It is a fact that Chinese investment in African infrastructure through Beijing’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), ultimately helps to create expanded sub-regional linkages. China Brief clearly points out building the East-West Africa highway is key in which infrastructure networks could help facilitate and spring the emergence of an eventual, true East-West link in the long term.

In the short-to-mid-term, the investments being made in road infrastructure will truly and robustly set East-West transport links as a formidable force that is going to be a panacea in improving trade and commerce in Africa.

It is envisioned that the proposed East-West link in the form of the Trans-Africa Highway 5 will manifest into credible network systems for trade for a full continental connection for a strong transcontinental African transport backbone corridor that is likely to change trade relations within Africa.

The nine-highway network is said to have been originally put forth by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa in 1971 and currently undertaken by the agency in conjunction with the African Union, the African Development Bank and external stakeholders. The highway connects Dakar, in Senegal, to the Chadian capital of N’djamena, about 4,500 kilometers. It runs through seven countries, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon, and Chad.

In Southern Africa, individual countries are accessing funding to build airports in the case of Zimbabwe, the completed Victoria Falls International Airport to the tune of $150 million dollars loan from China, is a good example. China is also supporting revamping and expansion of Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport, and in Zambia, the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport is nearing completion. More support has been invested in energy projects, and this will mark a huge transformation in development among African countries.

Achieving Africa’s development is no easy task, and its transformation comes with sacrifices being made to ensure that China’s investments see the light of day. It is appreciated that Sino-Africa support is based on mutual respect and collaboration, contrary to the view that Africa is facing another threat of Sino colonization. That is conspiratory. Going into the future, African economies stand to benefit by way of improvement in terms of economic competitiveness and enhanced trade volumes within Africa and beyond.

About the author:
Dr. Darlington Muzeza
Dr. Muzeza is a member of the newly founded African Tourism Board 


Knowledge, Experience and Attributes: I have lectured at tertiary (colleges), secondary and primary school levels; Passionate about imparting knowledge, skills and adaptive management as fundamental strategies to improving programs and its associated impact on communities in terms of development. Experienced in transboundary biodiversity governance, conservation and natural resource management; communities’ livelihoods and social ecology, conflict management and resolution. I have proven ability to develop concepts and I am a strategic planner with ability to promoting creative thinking while taking into account environmental sensitivities; I have passion in the fields of community development, governance, crisis and risk transformation among communities including management of social relationships; A strategic thinker with a developed capacity to build and convey the “big picture” as a team player; Excellent research skills, with strong political judgment; Proven ability to negotiate, challenge and confront issues, spot both risks and opportunities, brokering solutions to achieve goals; And have the capacity to negotiate bilateral and multilateral agreements at inter-governmental, non-governmental levels and can mobilise communities to secure broad-based support and participation of communities in programmes and projects. I have the capacity to undertake monitoring and evaluation including Environmental Impact Assessment compliance processes and I have done so as part of the Zimbabwe UNESCO National Committee investigation in Mana Pools National Park. Immense supervisory abilities and I supervised the Visitor Exit Survey (2015-2016) for Zimbabwe; I have experience in management of national projects and can lead stakeholder teams in project formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation; Knowledgeable in sustainable development issues, international relations and diplomacy with ability to provide strategic advisory services and manage lobbies at local and global levels to raise profiles of strategic issues and brands; Well-versed in sustainable tourism development planning; Experienced in concepts development; advocacy and community mobilization; Worked tirelessly for my principals in relation to tourism development at sub-regional and international institutions like the Southern African Development Community (SADC) - Regional Tourism Organization for Southern Africa (RETOSA), the African Union and the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) regarding tourism policy consummation, institutionalization and programs development; Served for five years as a Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Technical Advisory Committee Member on HIV/AIDS, Orphans and Vulnerable Children and Youth issues from 2007-2011; Have the ability to approach issues through a systems-thinking lens in a creative way; Proven experience with cross-cultural team capacity building, strong mentoring and evaluation skills; Have the ability to multi-tasking, prioritizing, pay simultaneous attention to detail, uphold quality of work and capable of problem-solving. Experienced in teamwork and understanding of the importance of effective communications for effective coordination and functioning of teams and able also to inspire and motivate others while being accountable. Well-developed presentation and representational skills appropriate for diverse audiences, including the ability to make and win arguments. I am able to network with stakeholders at different levels, provide leadership and can work independently in multicultural and multidisciplinary settings with a proven record to work under pressure, cope with and manage competing demands, meeting deadlines and adjusting priorities. Doctor of Technology (DTech) Environmental Health (Graduated on 22 September 2013); Faculty of Applied Sciences, Department of Environmental and Occupational Studies, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, Republic of South Africa (period of study: 2010-2013). Doctoral research thesis examined and passed: The Impact of Institutions of Governance on Communities’ Livelihoods and Sustainable Conservation in the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park: The study of Makuleke and Sengwe Communities. Concentration of applied Doctoral Degree research areas covered: Transboundary conservation practices, management, challenges and resource governance; Political ecology and communities’ livelihoods analysis; Tourism development and poverty alleviation; Conservation policy analysis; Conservancy typology and integrative local development; Rural development and natural resource conflict management and resolution; Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM); Sustainable conservation and management and tourism development for sustainable local livelihood support. Thesis Proffered: A Synergistic Transfrontier Governance Framework; Participatory Biodiversity Decision-Making Model and an Integrative Amalgam of Sustainable Natural Resource Utilization Framework focusing on tourism development for sustainable livelihoods among transfrontier conservation communities.. 2. Master of Science Degree in Social Ecology passed with Merit: (August 2007); Centre for Applied Social Science (CASS), Awarded a Master’s Degree with Merit: University of Zimbabwe, the Republic of Zimbabwe (period of study: 2005-2007). Master Degree research dissertation examined and passed: Investigation into Legislative and Executive Environmental Representation in Harare: The case studies of Mbare and Whitecliff. Concentration of Master Degree taught courses covered and passed: Population and Development; Ecological Disaster Management; Human Ecology; Research Methods and Tools for Ecological Analysis; Rural Livelihoods Strategies and Ecology; Natural Resource Policy Analysis; Institutional Aspects of Natural Resource Management; Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution in Natural Resource Use and Environmental Management and Protection. 3. Bachelor of Science in Politics and Administration-Honours Degree (2003); Awarded a Degree with an Upper Second Division or 2.1 Degree Classification: University of Zimbabwe, Republic of Zimbabwe (period of study: 2000-2003). 4. Diploma in Personnel Management (Awarded a Diploma with Credit); Institute of Personnel Management of Zimbabwe, Republic of Zimbabwe (period of study: 2004-2005). 5. Certificate of learning on Conservation Awareness; Zimbabwe National Conservation Trust, Republic of Zimbabwe (1999). 6. Certificate (special short course training) of learning on Tourism Management and Development for African Countries; China Ministry of Commerce and China National Tourism Trading and Service Corporation, Beijing, Republic of China (period of short course study: November to December 2009). 7. Certificate of learning on National Tourism Statistics and Tourism Satellite Account; Regional Tourism Organization for Southern Africa (RETOSA): RETOSA and the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Training Program, Republic of Zimbabwe (2011). 8. Certificate of learning on National Tourism Statistics and Tourism Satellite Account; Regional Tourism Organization for Southern Africa (RETOSA): RETOSA and the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Training Program, Republic of Mauritius (2014). 9. Certificate of learning on Basic Counseling and Communication; University of Zimbabwe in collaboration with the National Aids Coordinating Program: Ministry of Health and Child Welfare and the United Nations Children’s Fund, Republic of Zimbabwe (2002). 10. Certificate in Intermediate Course in Ms Word, Ms Excel and PowerPoint; Computer Centre, University of Zimbabwe, Republic of Zimbabwe (2003). Based in Harare, Zimbabwe and writes in his personal capacity. [email protected] or +263775846100