By Alagie Manneh in Beijing
A conference designed to provide opportunity for exchanging of ideas between African editors and columnists and their Chinese counterparts ended last Monday in Beijing.
The meeting, organised by the China International Publishing Group, CIPG, lasted for more than twenty days and it availed editors, journalists and commentators the opportunity to learn about China’s various development programmes, its poverty alleviation initiatives and the Chinese culture.
The primary focus was to help these African media contributors enhance traditional friendship and cooperation between Beijing and its allies including help alleviate misunderstandings and concerns in Sino-Africa ties.
The forum also discussed how to promote these countries human resource development, including economic and social.
During their stay, participants were exposed to various topics such as the course of media development in China, media platforms and how they shape public opinion, the Chinese economy since 1980 et cetera. The idea was to give them a broader view on China and eventually assist them in their functions.
From the lectures, the participants embarked on trips to the Great Wall and the Huangguoshu waterfalls, and to Guizhou province or the ‘Other Side of China’, where her government continues in crusade to lift millions out of poverty.
“Our knowledge of China has been enriched,” Ms Doreen Hammond, a Ghanaian feature editor and columnist, said in a remark on behalf of the participants.
“The three weeks have been significant to all of us in our professions as commentators, columnists, editors and journalists.
“We have been privileged to participate in this educative, entertaining and mind-opening seminar aimed at providing a platform for the sharing of ideas to promote friendship and cooperation between China and Africa.”
Wozie Samuel Freeman, assistant minister for information and cultural affairs of Liberia, stated: “We had a wonderful experience here and I believe the other African media personnel who attended would agree that the experience was very much profound. China’s win-win diplomacy towards Africa is strategic and will help us transform the livelihood of our people by helping us specifically to transition from the regular subsistence to communal farming. It would help us have a stronger value chain where the economic circle and especially investment could be the source of savings and savings could be the source of loanable funds. It is now up to our respective governments to commit.”
Mubarak Mugabo, a Ugandan journalist and broadcaster, said he was impressed with the Chinese government’s various development initiatives.
“They are prioritising electricity, water and other basic needs for citizens in the provinces. From there, you know that this country is at a take-off stage and, in a very short time, it would be one of the superpowers. With the misconception about China in Africa, I believe the Chinese government should intensify such visits so that the western media be put in its place in telling stories of China and other countries.”
The CIPG was founded in 1949 with a mission to introduce China to foreign countries through books and magazines and latterly, websites. It publishes some 3,000 titles a year in various categories along with 50 periodicals and e-journals in more than ten languages, which are distributed to more than 180 countries and regions. It now has over 20 overseas branches located in the United States and elsewhere.