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China commits scholarships, training to boost Africa ties

Chinese president, Xi Jinping, has announced that China will provide 30,000 government scholarships for African students as well as 2,000 educational opportunities with degrees and diplomas, as part of the country’s aim to strengthen cooperation with Africa.

Speaking at the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation summit Xi said China will also offer 40,000 training opportunities to African students in order to further boost education and training relations.

China will set up a number of regional vocational education centres across the continent, as well as several schools for “capacity building”, which will help to accommodate the training of 200,000 technicians.

“We will also support African countries in building and upgrading five transportation universities,” he said in his address to the delegates.

China also committed to sponsoring visits from 200 African scholars as well as study trips by 500 young Africans to China. In addition, the country will train 1,000 media professionals from Africa annually.

Between 2000 and 2011, 79,000 African students studied in China, according to a paper published by NORRAG, a Switzerland-based independent network for international policies and cooperation in education and training.

It added that the cooperation between the two regions is “becoming a new form of China’s higher education internationalization”.

“The current new cooperation modality between China and Africa has provided the opportunity for Chinese higher education institutions to export Chinese knowledge to the world,” it said.

In his address, Xi also committed $60bn in funding over the next three years to plans in 10 major areas including industrialization, agricultural modernization, financial services, infrastructure, green development, poverty reduction and public welfare.

The funding tranche will include $35bn of preferential loans and export credit, as well as a China-Africa production capacity cooperation fund which will see an initial capital of $10bn. Five billion will come via interest free loans and aid, Xi said.

The plans in these ten areas will be implemented in order to address “three bottleneck issues holding back Africa’s development”: inadequate infrastructure, lack of professional and skilled personnel, and funding shortage.

He said the country aims to help in “accelerating African industrialization, and agricultural modernization and achieving sustainable self-development.”

The summit took place last month in Johannesburg, and was attended by representatives of 50 African countries. Focusing on “win-win cooperation for common development”, this was the second conference held by the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation.

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