Over 30 African journalists start three-week seminar in Beijing

Zhao Lijun (3rd left), Director of the Education and Training Centre of the China International Publishing Group (CIPG), with the journalists after the opening ceremony:

By Jale Richard, Beijing

At least 36 journalists from six African countries have started a three-week seminar on Renown Commentators and Columnists of Major Media Organizations for African Countries.

The journalists were drawn from Ethiopia, South Sudan, Uganda, Ghana, Liberia and the Gambia.

Four journalists from different media organizations in South Sudan are participating in this year’s seminar in Beijing. The representatives from South Sudan are from the Juba Monitor Newspaper, the Dawn Newspaper, the Independent Newspaper, and a representative from South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation-radio.

The seminar was organized by the China International Publishing Group (CIPG) under the Chinese Government Foreign Aid Training Programs. The seminar courses aim to enhancefriendship and cooperation between China and other developing countries, and to promote their human resource development, economic and social development.

While opening the seminar on Wednesday in Beijing, the Director of the Education and Training Centre of the China International Publishing Group (CIPG), Zhao Lijun said she hoped the seminar will bring African journalists close to China.

She said the forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAG) summit in September this year and its outcomes showed China’s determination to support African countries’ development and to build China-Africa community with a shared future.

“In this process media can play a very significant role,” Ms Zhao said. “Our country’s development it is media to play the role. As our ties are getting intimate to each other, media should play the role to strengthen our cooperation,” she added.

Ms Zhao acknowledged that as China engages in developing its cooperation with the rest of the world, there were misunderstandings of China’s role in those countries.

“I think such misunderstandings can occur in your countries and it is the role of the media to clear such misunderstandings,” she said.

The 2018 FOCAG summit in Beijing ended with eight major initiatives to be implemented over the next three years in African countries.

Chinese President Xi Jinping announced that China will set up a China-Africa economic and trade expo, carry out 50 agricultural assistance programs, provide emergency humanitarian food aid totaling USD 147 million to African countries affected by natural disasters, and send 500 senior agricultural experts to the continent. China also pledged USD 60 billion worth loans to African countries.

For South Sudan, President Salva Kiir secured agreements with the Chinese companies for construction of roads to link some of the 32 states to the capital Juba.

Speaking on behalf of the participants, David Mukholi, the Managing Editor of Vision Group in Kampala, Uganda said presence of the African journalist in China was part of the ‘learning and also building contacts’ in the media to support the development of journalism in Africa.

“The fact that we have come from different parts of Africa to attend this seminar aptly captures China’s close ties with Africa. It is in this generation that we are seeing China reaching out to Africa so that we walk together on the development path,” Mr Mukholi said.

“China has made significant strides in development and she has consciously chosen Africa to learn from her,” he added.

Over the past 40 years after it opened up to the rest of the world, China developed rapidly from once a poverty ridden country to the second largest economy in the world. In just 30 years, nearly six hundred million people were lifted out of poverty.

“China now offers lessons for Africa to emulate. Thankfully, she has deliberately decided to interact with Africa through all sectors so that we pick lessons that we take back home to implement,” Mr. Mukholi noted. “This is a welcome decision because lopsided development, where the developed think Africa needs aid only has not worked. The point is, aid has never developed a nation but only encouraged dependence, which strangulates development,” he said.

He noted that instead of offering aid, China is investing in Africa and creating jobs, teaching Africa to work, working with Africa and supporting Africa using a win-win approach.

Mr. Mukholi said the African journalists would learn how the media has contributed to China’s development, and will learn how to tell China’s story back home for African citizens to select lessons from China’s development for similar transformation in Africa.

The journalists will visit China’s national media organizations as well as small media organizations in other provinces. They will also visit historical sites such as the Great Wall; the Capital Museum, the Temple of Heaven to learn from Chinese culture.





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