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What the EU Can Learn From China’s Development Efforts in Africa

Legacy aid donors in the United States and Europe generally don’t look to China for inspiration on poverty alleviation programs that their aid agencies implement in places like Africa. That’s a big mistake according to Philani Mthembu, executive director at Institute for Global Dialogue in Johannesburg.

Mthembu makes the case in a new paper that China provides European stakeholders in particular with compelling poverty relief models that have been implemented both at home and in Africa as well over the past 20 years.

“Whatever views or biases one may have towards China, one cannot simply dismiss the empirical evidence of China’s contribution to the global and African development landscape,” he wrote in a new essay published in the European journal International Politics and Society.

“Without China’s own efforts in lifting over 800 million people from poverty over the past 40 years, the world would certainly not have achieved the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). But not only has China undoubtedly shown unprecedented poverty eradication efforts at home, it has also made an important contribution to such efforts abroad,” said Mthembu.

Philani Mthembu on What the West Can Learn From China

  • DELIVER ON SUMMIT PROMISES: “The EU will have to secure a greater alignment between positions adopted at summits with the resources allocated in-between summits. This would ensure that, whilst the seven year budget cycles would still be an essential part of planning, the EU does not hinder its own ability to adapt to evolving priorities – especially those raised by African stakeholders.”
  • DON’T CANCEL SUMMITS: “The EU will have to find ways of engaging with African counterparts in a manner that does not lead to a breakdown of the relationship to such an extent that EU-Africa Summits may be cancelled or postponed.”

Read the full article on the International Politics and Society website.

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