Zimbabwe Deputy PM Tells Africa To Be Tough On China

By Susan Njanji (AFP)   

JOHANNESBURG — Africa must learn to dictate its own terms when dealing with China and stop blaming Beijing, apartheid or colonialism for its economic woes, Zimbabwe's deputy prime minister said Wednesday. Arthur Mutambara said it was time for Africa to stop taking a "romantic view" of China because it has grown from a "comrade in poverty" to a global economic giant and superpower.

Arthur MutambaraImage Credit: (AFP/File, Rodger Bosch)

"Why are we not making sure the engagement with China is on our terms, as Africans? Labour, skills, technology, value addition," he said at a China-Africa conference.

"The Chinese must come to Africa on African terms. The terms that will allow the Chinese to make money but the terms that will also allow Africa to develop, win-win. China wins, Africa wins."

He said Africa has been free for a long time — two generations in countries such as Ghana — and it should not be wasting time making excuses for its tardy development.

"Africans must not blame China, or any other power for that matter. We must take charge of our lives, we must take responsibility for our problems and solve them."

He added: "Yes, there are things we can trace back to apartheid, to colonialism, but we must take charge of our lives and not justify incompetence by talking about apartheid, colonialism."

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