Assistant Foreign Minister for Public Affairs Hon. J. Wesley Washington and two other attend 'Professional Seminar for Diplomats

Hon. J. Wesley Washington, Mulbah Kawoi and Sharon Gorma Shamoyan posed for a pic. in China during the opening of the seminar
Hon. J. Wesley Washington, Mulbah Kawoi and Sharon Gorma Shamoyan posed for a pic. in China during the opening of the seminar
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The Assistant Minister for Public Affairs and two other personnel of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are in Beijing, People’s Republic of China (PRC) attending a “Professional Seminar for Diplomats from English-speaking African Countries”. Mr. J. Wesley Washington, Mulbah Kawoi and Sharon Gorma Shamoyan will be in China until May 24th 2011.

The “Seminar for African Diplomats”, taking place at the China Foreign Affairs University, is providing 36 diplomats from 13 African countries a better understanding about modern China, and is enhancing their diplomatic knowledge so as to better engage in foreign affairs in the future. 

The Program also provides the participants with a better insight of the national conditions and policies of contemporary China, its history and culture, economy, political system, and its relations with African countries. Participants are to benefit from advanced studies on Foreign Affairs and International Relations, including Research on International Affairs, the United Nations, International Economy, and International Law, among others.

Addressing the opening ceremony at the University’s International Exchange Center on Wednesday, March 30th, 2011, the Vice President of the China Foreign Affairs University (CFAU), Professor Heng Xiaojun re-emphasized that the purpose of the program is to promote mutual understanding between China and Africa. He noted that though the world is changing as we’re in a period of globalization, face-to-face interaction is very important to enhance mutual understand and cooperation.

The Head of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ African Department, Counselor Wang Shiting, for his part, said though China-African relations have witnessed rapid development, there are still debates over the nature of these relations.

He did admit that Africa is important to China. “Africa has always been a top priority of China’s foreign policy agenda because there is not only the common interest but most importantly there is a shared emotional bondage between China and Africa that spans over centuries,” Mr. Wang said noting that it begins from both shared miserable past and mutual assistance in fighting for freedom and independence.

The Chinese diplomat emphasized that Chinese assistance to Africa is sincere. He said that for decades his country’s cooperation and assistance to Africa have placed emphasis on the development of infrastructure, agriculture, education, and health care because these are the needs of the African people.“We have built 3,300 kilometers of road and 2,200 kilometers of railways. Besides this, we have also built 2,000 industrial processing projects where the African people enjoy comparative advantage for export - a potential job creation,” he said.

The Chinese diplomat, who has served over 20 years in Africa, said that the ultimate goal of China’s assistance to Africa is to build its capacity so as to develop on their own as the Chinese Government has always stressed on technology transfer in their assistance to Africa. He reiterated that China is always willing to share their experiences with Africa.  He said that though China has made tremendous improvements in the past few decades, they will never force their model on anyone, but rather to share experiences with Africa.

He argued that China always respects the choices made by Africans as the development of Africa should be based on its own conditions, follow it own path to develop its own model - the African Model. “We are not teachers, we are friends,” he said, adding that the way to get Africa on board is not to force them; rather China should find a way with Africa through consultation as the African theory is up to the African people.

While in Beijing, participants will visit sections of government organs, the Olympic Stadium, the Great Wall, the Palace Museum, the Temple of Heaven appreciate the Beijing Opra, and Martial Arts. They will also visit Shanxi and Zhejiang provinces while in China.

Participants are from Lesotho, Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.