China-Africa Knowledge Exchange Workshop in Uganda | World Bank Institute (WBI)

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February 18, 2010—Since the 1960s, China has completed 900 projects of economic and social development in Africa, and provided training and exchange opportunities for 30,000 officials, students, and professionals (18,000 of them were on scholarships).

Tsinghua University is one of China’s top universities (called "China's MIT") that offers such opportunities. Since its School of Public Policy and Management launched two English-language master’s programs in International Development and Public Administration, the number of international students it attracts, especially from Africa, has been growing.
 
Promoting Knowledge Exchange and Partnerships
 
To help Tsinghua University faculty better understand Africa’s development context and challenges and to promote partnerships with African education and research institutions, the World Bank Institute and Uganda Management Institute organized a China-Africa Knowledge Exchange Workshop in Kampala (Uganda) on January 25-27, 2010. The workshop brought together a group of professors from Tsinghua University with African public policy researchers and practitioners.
 

open-quotesAfrica’s future depends on African leadership, and the champions of reforms are equally in charge as people in this room.close-quotes

Participants discussed China’s development assistance to Africa, lessons from China’s development path and its implications for Africa, as well as the role of government in education and social development. They also engaged in lively exchange on issues such as China’s “no strings attached” approach to aid, imbalances in China-Africa trade, labor and environmental standards of Chinese investments, the quality of the products that China is exporting to Africa, transparency in natural resource deals, and the degree of attention to good governance, accountability, and democracy.
 
Learning From International Best Practices
 
Dr. Xue Lan, head of the Tsinghua University delegation, talked about the importance of learning from international best practices on development and aid effectiveness, including exploring multilateral channels of development aid. 
 
There was also a broad consensus on the need for strong and home-grown ownership of development strategies by African countries.  One of the African researchers noted that "Africa’s future depends on African leadership, and the champions of reforms are equally in charge as people in this room."
 
The program included a field visit to some of the development projects that are being supported by the Government of China, including an aquaculture research and demonstration center and the Uganda Industrial Research Institute.
 
Proposed Network of Reseachers and Educators
 
As a result of the workshop, the African scholars proposed establishing a network of researchers and educators to foster sustained knowledge exchange through GDLN dialogues, agreements between universities, staff exchanges, joint workshops and seminars, joint research papers, and co-teaching in courses such as African Studies or China Studies.
 
The workshop was financed by the World Bank-DFID Partnership to Support China-Africa Cooperation.