Thriving tech cooperation
By Donatien Niyonzima  ·  2023-10-31  ·   Source: ChinAfrica


Passengers in a carriage of a train on the Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway at Nagad Railway Station on 9 September 2022 (XINHUA)

In the dynamic landscape of international cooperation, few partnerships shine as brightly as the one between Hubei, a province in central China, and the countries of Africa. Over the years, this collaboration has evolved into a thriving beacon of technological exchange, driving progress, innovation and development across the African continent. 

The journey of cooperation in technology between Hubei and Africa dates back decades, with its origins in 1963, when Hubei sent China’s first medical team to Algeria. This pioneering initiative marked the prelude to extensive exchanges and cooperation between Hubei and African nations. 

Reflecting on this historical cooperation, during the China-Africa Innovation Cooperation and Development Forum held in Wuhan in July, Zhang Xiaomei, director general of Hubei Foreign Affairs Office, said that the province has long contributed to China-Africa friendship and participated in Africa’s development and the building of a China-Africa community with a shared future. She added that recent years have witnessed growing exchanges and cooperation in sci-tech innovation with African countries.  

What began as medical assistance has matured into a comprehensive partnership spanning diverse sectors. From the construction of vital infrastructure to agricultural advancements, Hubei’s technical expertise has played a pivotal role in Africa’s development journey. 

One standout achievement in this regard is the Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway. Operated by Hubei-based China Railway 11th Bureau Group, this transnational electrified railway is the first of its kind in Africa. Since its inception, it has facilitated the seamless transportation of nearly 600,000 passengers and over 7 million tonnes of cargo. Moreover, its transportation revenue has maintained an impressive annual growth rate, exceeding 35 percent. 

François Nkuna Balumuene, ambassador of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to China, underscored the significance of this collaboration, stating, “China and Africa [will] further cooperate in scientific and technological innovation and other fields, share resources, and work together to achieve win-win results.” 

Economic growth and investment 

According to Hubei Provincial People’s Government Media Centre, one of the most significant facets of this cooperation is the substantial investment made by Hubei in African countries. In 2022 alone, local enterprises from Hubei invested a staggering $84.28 million in Africa, marking a remarkable 3.6-fold increase from the previous year. By December 2022, these investments had blossomed into 52 projects across Africa, with a cumulative investment reaching $850 million. These projects span diverse fields, including agricultural development, medicine, and building materials manufacturing. 

Vice Minister Zhang Guangjun of the Ministry of Science and Technology accentuated the importance of technology in this cooperation, stating, “The collaboration is dedicated to achieving common development and commercializing innovation outcomes, with the ultimate aim of establishing a high-level China-Africa community with a shared future.” 

These investments transcend monetary value; they are a testament to Hubei’s commitment to nurturing economic growth in Africa. They create employment opportunities, transfer essential knowledge, and invigorate local economies. Furthermore, they are instrumental in addressing economic disparities, fostering equitable development and illuminating a brighter future for Africa. 

Technical cooperation is not limited to economic investments; it extends deeply into education and scientific research. Hubei’s commitment to knowledge transfer and innovation is poised to reshape Africa’s future by nurturing a skilled workforce and driving technological advancements. 

Li Bin, minister counsellor in the Department of African Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, highlighted Hubei’s strength in science and education. This strength is pivotal in elevating practical cooperation between Hubei and Africa to new heights. It nurtures human capital and fosters collaborative research ventures, solidifying the foundation for sustainable development. 

These educational and scientific exchanges contribute significantly to building a high-level China-Africa community with a shared future. They facilitate knowledge transfer, drive cutting-edge research, and empower Africa’s development across various sectors. 


The China-Africa Innovation Cooperation and Development Forum is kicked off in Wuhan, Hubei Province, on 6 July (DONATIEN NIYONZIMA) 

Culture and tech complementarity 

While technical and technological cooperation forms the bedrock of this partnership, it is complemented by robust cultural exchanges. Music, art, cuisine and language serve as vehicles for cultural engagement, fostering goodwill and strengthening bonds between Hubei and African nations. 

According to Yasser Refaat, Egyptian deputy minister of Higher Education for Scientific Research Affairs, the brotherhood with China is laudable. He expressed his hope to strengthen exchanges and cooperation in academic, scientific research, scientific and technological innovation, institution building and other fields, so as to integrate superior resources, and promote economic and social development on both sides. These exchanges not only enrich cultural understanding but also provide fertile ground for collaboration and mutual growth. 

Despite challenges such as economic disparities, ensuring equitable distribution of benefits, and sustaining the momentum of scientific and educational cooperation, these challenges are met with resilience and determination. 

Technology cooperation between Hubei and Africa embodies the power of international collaboration. As this partnership continues to flourish, it holds the promise of steering economic growth, innovation and progress for both Hubei and its African counterparts. Together, they contribute to a brighter future for all. By surmounting challenges and nurturing these relationships, Hubei and Africa are forging a shared future of prosperity, development and mutual understanding. This partnership transcends mere cooperation; it embodies the enduring spirit of nations working in harmony for a better world.  

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