Prof. Huang Yanghua, a teacher at the School of Applied Economics, Renmin University of China, on Tuesday urged African leaders to imbibe sustainable strategies aimed at tackling the continent’s economic challenges.
Huang, who served as a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, gave the advice in Beijing on the sidelines of a lecture titled: “China’s dual-circulation model: History, facts, and perspectives”, organised under the auspices of the China Africa Press Centre (CAPC) Programme 2022.
The don said, “From Chinese experience, African countries have to make targets of 20 or 30 years, have lots of nationwide discussions and debates and come up with economic consensus for the next 20 years.
“So, no matter how government administration changes and how many prime ministers or presidents come and go, each term of government must stick to the national long-term targets.
“There will be lots of achievements by means of such economic strategy.
“One president will make efforts to achieve such targets and the next president or prime minister will follow suit in that direction such that there will be no cumulative effect at once.”
He narrated the Chinese experience, saying China had many debates and discussions within the governments and came up with a consensus to chart the way forward.
According to him, where there is consensus, it should be adopted and everyone should adhere to such a policy to enable the country to tackle national economic challenges, particularly foreign debt.
“Even if you have a different opinion, once consensus is achieved you have to adhere to it.
“Maybe after 10 or 20 years you can rethink or renew the consensus, to come up with a new policy.
“So, for African countries, I think the most important thing is to have long-term targets and cooperate with other nations.
“I think the most important thing about debt management is to use debt in the right place because you have to pay back and debt should be used as capital to drive long-term growth.
“Growth will give you feedback. If the debt is not used in productive ways, such debt will accumulate,” the economist added.
He said although China acquired a lot of debt from the World Bank, the Chinese government invested most of the debt in infrastructure development.
The university teacher said China’s pro-growth investment and long-term growth plan gave feedback to the government, a thing that made debt repayment easy to encourage the World Bank to give new loans.
“These are policies the Chinese government made.
“I think the most important success of China is that the policies government made were realistic and pragmatic, aimed at solving economic problems,” he said.
No fewer than 90 Journalists from 67 countries in Africa, Middle East, Europe, Latin America, and Asia Pacific are participating in the programme, which began in June.
The programme, which is being hosted by the China Public Diplomacy Association (CPDA), is expected to end in November.