On the afternoon of September 15, the first China-Africa Future Youth Leader Forum was held in Beijing. The forum was themed “Young People Innovate Africa and Promote Shared Prosperity” and sponsored by the China Social Entrepreneur Foundation (YouChange), the Financial Center for South-South Cooperation (FCSSC) and the Made in Africa Initiative (MIAI). The attendees included more than 100 young representatives who play an active role in China-Africa cooperation, Africa’s sustainable development and South-South cooperation. Through keynote speeches and panel discussions, they shared their stories about and experience in industrial construction, agricultural innovation and financial and technical development in the fourth industrial revolution and economic restructuring in Africa.
More and more young Chinese and Africans participate in China-Africa cooperation and development, and according to the eight major initiatives announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), China will support innovation cooperation and exchanges between young Chinese and Africans. Hence, it is believed that it is necessary to build a platform for exchanges and interactions among young people playing an active in China-Africa cooperation and development and make their voice heard. That is why this forum is held, which is also expected to allow innovative young people to promote China-Africa cooperation in response to the Belt and Road Initiative.
The forum started with keynote speeches on such topics as the process, challenges and prospects of industrialization in Africa and the opportunities of investment in Africa. The speakers are Dr. Yu Jia, Director of International Development Cooperation at the Institute of New Structural Economics at Peking University, Dr. Cheng Cheng, Chief Economist of MIAI and Asia-Pacific Senior Consultant of the United Nations Development Programme, Mr. Zhang Xiaochen, Founder of fintech4good, and Stephany Zoo, Founder of an African E-business website bundshop.com
Dr. Yu believed that cooperation with China in labour-intensive industries would help Africa realize economic restructuring and rapid development since Japan, the Four Asian Tigers and China had broken the bottleneck in their development via labour-intensive industries. She also told a story in which a hydropower plant project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo delayed because the local industrialization is at such a low level that the investment for the project would lose. That shows industrialization in Africa is still a heavy task that requires great efforts of young Chinese and Africans.
Dr. Cheng believed that it was most important to enable the government and young people of Africa to well know how to develop Africa soundly and rapidly because it is better to show a man how to fish than to give him a fish, based on his industry surveys in 10 African countries like Rwanda, Uganda, Djibouti, the Ivory Coast and Togo, and on his rich experience in analysis on policies of African countries.
Mr. Zhang, discovering and supporting most potential financial technology and blockchain technology throughout the globe, talked about how to effectively cooperate with African countries and about ultimate beneficiaries who needs aid, from the perspectives of aid to Africa, climate change and new and advanced technology popularization.
Ms. Stephany Zoo, Founder of fintech, in her twenties, and her team developed Bitpesa, a blockchain-based payment platform that is built on the Bitcoin network and allows users to send and collect business payments between Africa and the rest of the world. That indicates feasibility and operationality of application of new and advanced technology in Africa.
After keynote speeches, Mr. Zhang Xiaodong, Head of the Promotion Association of Belt and Road in Zhongguancun, said, “The exhibition themed “New Image of China and Africa” held in the hall on the second floor presents the real Africa in terms of the government, energy, water conservancy, talent, etc.” He also invited four African university students who had worked as volunteers in the exhibition to share their ideas on China-Africa development and cooperation.
Then the panel discussion was started, which was presided over by Joyce Zhang, Deputy Director General of FCSSC. The panelists included Jane Xing, Deputy Director of China Office of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Peng Bin, Beijing Representative of Mercy Corps, LINA Getachew Ayenew,a social entrepreneur and writer in Ethiopia, Gao Zhan, President and CEO of Grameen China, etc. They talked about opportunities, challenges and young Chinese’s role in the fourth industrial revolution in Africa, and shared their ideas on how to advance technology in Africa, promote China-Africa exchanges and encourage the private sector to take an active part in China-Africa cooperation.
In her concluding remarks, Ms. Li Jiachen, Deputy Secretary General of YouChange, detailed how young people are important and how do they play a much better role in China-Africa cooperation, and proposed the China-Africa Future Youth Leader Initiative to call upon young Chinese and Africans to join the initiative and make contributions to China-Africa cooperation.
This is a great exchange between young Chinese and Africans.
Here you can hear appealing African stories and legends.
Here you can see erudite scholars, and representatives residing in Africa.
Here you can know about social development organizations, philanthropic foundations and also members of the private sector.
Here you can exchange ideas with each other.
This is the China-Africa Future Youth Leader Initiative!
This event was sponsored by YouChange, FCSSC and MIAI, and supported by the Global Shapers Community Beijing Hub, the Promotion Association of Belt and Road in Zhongguancun, Development Reimagined, Qinghe College and the China-Africa Development Fund.