Leading Lights: China a true friend to Africa: expert

Joseph Butiku, the Chairman, Board of Trustees at the Mwalimu Nyerere Foundation in Tanzania.
Joseph Butiku, the Chairman, Board of Trustees at the Mwalimu Nyerere Foundation in Tanzania.

China has been a true friend of Africa in the continent’s quest to catch up with the rest of the world, according to a top official of the Mwalimu Nyerere Foundation (MNF), which works to promote peace, unity and people centred development in Africa and the world.

Joseph Butiku, the Chairman, Board of Trustees at MNF, hailed the positive influence China has had on Africa while speaking to CGTN.

Butiku praised the impact various Chinese initiatives have had on Africa, including the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, which he said offers the continent an opportunity for bilateral progress.

“The FOCAC forum is basically related to China’s one belt, one road.  You see, let’s move together not militarily, but economically.  And economically of course, you go to other relationships, social, political, environmental,” said Butiku.

“This is a relationship that builds capacity for Tanzania and the capacity for Africa to contribute in a special way to the economic growth and empowerment of Africa.”

Butiku praised China for helping Tanzania and other African countries achieve development goals, as well as laying a foundation for the continent’s future.

“China is doing a lot of work in that field (infrastructure development) already here in Tanzania. If you move around you’ll see they are on roads building, they are on bridges building them.. They are helping us with building airports everywhere. And most important thing, they are also busy training people; our young people to be engineers. Good engineers. hardworking engineers. Just as the Chinese are. And the Chinese believe that through infrastructure, then you connect,” he spelled out.

China and Tanzania have enjoyed diplomatic relations for 58 years.

In 1965, Tanzania became the first country in eastern and southern Africa to sign the Treaty of Friendship with China.

In the 58 years, China and Tanzania have developed pragmatic cooperation with rich achievements in multiple forms, including aid, trade, investment, financing, and in a wide range of areas such as infrastructure, industry, agriculture and mining.

With the changing dynamics of the modern world, and with the influence of technology, Butiku expects Sino-African relations to scale even further heights.

“Mwalimu (Julius Nyerere) said all human beings –be it men or women – are sisters and brothers. It’s obvious to me that China shares that view. And I think together if we move in that direction, we should be making a major contribution to persuading the rest of the world, especially to those who work towards dividing the world that there is a need now more than before to come together. Our interdependence needs an international system of relationships like China is trying to develop with Africa,” he said.