An African Perspective on the CPC’s Concept of Whole Process People’s Democracy

By Moshi Israel

The Communist Party of China (CPC) has served the people of China for several decades with utmost effectiveness that should be admired everywhere. The success of the CPC is not a mere fluke, considering the complexity of China’s history and national realities. China with more than a millennium of history has had to endure civil wars and power struggles from different dynasties that exposed the common people to untold suffering. The opium wars and Western colonialism also left the once-great civilization of China on the brink of collapse. The CPC pulled China from the jaws of destruction and put the country on a path to unprecedented prosperity and success.

The People’s Republic of China is a vast country with a huge population and a diversity of cultures and ethnicities. To govern such a country, a certain political acumen and tact is required and the CPC under the leadership of President Xi has proved itself a very capable candidate to map China’s development well into the future.

President Xi introduced the concept of whole process people’s democracy back in 2012 and elaborated it as true democracy that addresses the people’s concerns and is characterised by the people’s participation in all state’s social, cultural, and economic affairs. This type of democracy is ‘whole process’ because the people engage in democratic elections, consultations, management, decision-making, and oversight in accordance with the constitution. On the other hand, it is the people’s democracy because China’s constitution labels the people as masters of the country.

The National People’s Congress (NPC) and the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) work closely with and hold two sessions in which they deliberate on the governance of the state with the people’s interests in consideration. These national bodies collaborate closely with elected grassroots officials to address issues of concern for every citizen. These grassroots committees run from the village, town, and city to the provincial level. Through them, the common person’s concerns are able to reach the highest level of the Chinese government. Moreover, the CPC despite being the dominant party of choice for most Chinese people, still works closely with a number of other political parties in China.

China has demonstrated that whereas every country should aspire to be democratic, the concept of democracy varies from one country to the next depending on their national context. Not every country is suited to the Western style of democracy. Aspects of culture, geography, history, demographics, and economics play a vital role in determining what sort of democracy a country will be. Centuries of the forced and failed Western way of democracy across the world indicate that perhaps everyone cannot be the same and being different is okay. From ancient Greece; the bedrock of democracy to Britain and the United States, democracy has come in different forms for all of these countries.

China, under the CPC, has clearly shown that democracy is not a mere jargon to be thrown around aimlessly, rather, democracy should be practiced and its results seen. China has achieved this by elevating over half of a billion people out of absolute poverty and putting China on a modernization path so effective, it has been dubbed a ‘miracle.’ Furthermore, China’s concept of democracy extends across two fronts; the domestic and the international arenas. Domestically, China has grown exponentially. On the international stage, China has spread the gospel of whole process people’s democracy with a unique Chinese socialism.

China, unlike the West, believes in and practices the concepts of mutual benefit, shared prosperity, and win-win partnerships with its international partners. Through the Belt and Road Initiative, the country has established good relations with others across the world.

African countries, as beneficiaries of China’s growth through the latter’s application of its democratic concepts on the international stage, should proactively seek to develop their own people-centered and development-oriented democratic structures. This should be based on each country’s national realities. Besides, China has always learned from other developed countries and altered these lessons to fit its national context.

Otherwise, the CPC with President Xi Jinping at the helm has produced amazing results by strategically choosing to put the development of Chinese people at the forefront. Rightly so, democracy should indeed be structured around people’s happiness. Elections and a thousand political parties do not mean much if the people are starving and underdeveloped.

Therefore, every Ugandan and every African should be asking their leaders, what sort of democracy they think they are engaging in if the people’s happiness is not a core priority. With China, we can see that political theory should be backed by strategic and patriotic practices centered on common prosperity and the right to development.

The Writer is a Senior Research Fellow at Development Watch Center.


The African Union in the G20 is a Good Omen for the Global South

By Moshi Israel

During the recently concluded G20 summit, the African Union (AU) earned permanent member status among the world’s top 20 economies. For the hosts, India or Bharat, and even more specifically, Prime Minister Nerandra Modi, the acceptance of the AU into the G20 is symbolic of his continuous fight to give a voice to the global south in an international system increasingly dominated by great power politics.

This decision has been long overdue given the enormous size of the African continent and the diversity of people and economies it represents. Combined, African countries are as good as any other, and perhaps a future ambition for the AU should be the integration of all the region’s economies into one with a common trade policy. This would prove instrumental in dealing with countries that created the current international trade system and constantly break the rules that limit their ambitions. The AU’s elevation to permanent member status just like the European Union is a chance for countries at the periphery of international relations to be represented in the group.

The presence of the African Union as a permanent member in the G20 also serves to extend the often-elusive microphone to the bloc. For so long, African countries have had to stand outside the halls of power as others debated problems and deliberated solutions concerning the continent. Many of the region’s leaders tuned in to cable television to receive breaking news about what the major powers had decided would be Africa’s future. Moreover, the African continent has no control over the narratives concerning its past. This opportunity is, therefore, a significant step for developing countries in Africa to represent themselves and offer up ideas that align with the African context. The AU right now has a podium to prove naysayers wrong.

India is following in the footsteps of its BRICS partners, China and Russia in championing the platforming of the global south on the international stage. In this aspect, China has been ahead of the curve and has behaved in a foresighted manner. Indeed, for long, China and entire BRICS family have for long shown their support for Africa to be admitted into the grouping as a Permanent member. Foresight often eludes most great powers. The west seems to be playing catch up when it comes to updating and revising relations with the global south.

The current global order is in crisis and many international state actors are turning to the global south as the foundation for a new more inclusive and equitable global order. The addition of the AU as a permanent member into the G0 ranks is yet another step in the direction of achieving a truly multipolar world.

The crises facing the world today range from the recent COVID-19 pandemic, the Ukraine war, and climate change to food insecurity and inflation. Fittingly, the summit in India had an agenda that focused on the issues affecting developing countries the most. Some of these issues include; finding alternatives to fossil fuels, food security, a common framework for digital public infrastructure, and resource efficiency. Reforming the major mainstream lending institutions like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund was also key on the agenda. This would help developing countries have quick access to development-related funds. Moreover, the growing popularity and strength of the BRICS bank should be a signal to the World Bank and IMF that change is inevitable and reform is a necessity.

The AU will be a key figure in the global fight against climate change. Its permanent presence in the G20 will help to expand the voice of the global south, especially on issues of climate financing and a just transition to the green economy.

The growing relevance of the global south in the international arena should not be underestimated. Countries like China have picked up on this trajectory and invested heavily in developing countries all around the world. The goal is to obtain a mutually beneficial partnership through south-south cooperation.

The West has largely treated the global south as its backyard and often dealt with it through handouts and dictates. Blocs like BRICS helped change this narrative and engaged the global south on equal terms. And now, the G20 has also awakened to the reality that the world’s nations need each other and the global south has a vital role to play. For instance, the conflict in Ukraine and the subsequently failed sanctions on Russia have shown that having the global south on your side is important and necessary for key geopolitical maneuvers.

Additionally, as part of the G20, the AU should seek to lead Africa on a new path that is strategically beneficial for all its members. The first step in this process is to get rid of the destructive colonial mindset that has held the AU members back.

The Writer is a Research Fellow with Development Watch Center.




Medical Diplomacy: China is Building a Community of Shared Prosperity for Mankind

By Dr. Ham Wasswa Matovu

Last week, a team of Ugandan medical experts from district hospitals arrived in Beijing China. Funded by the Chinese government, the team will spend three weeks in China at one of the country’s top Universities, Tsinghua University to attend a Seminar on Health Care and Public Health.  This will boost their public health knowledge and health systems management so as to be able to make a tangible contribution when they return home.

Aware that China is one of few developing countries with a robust and well-functioning health system in the world, there is no doubt that the seminar will equip of medical team with the much-needed expertise and experience which will in turn help contribute in strengthening Uganda’s health sector. Through on his X account (formerly twitter,) Chinese Ambassador to Uganda His Excellency Zhang Lizhong explained that Uganda’s team in Beijing for the seminar under the arrangement of medical cooperation adding that; “delighted to see China-Uganda health communication & cooperation deepening through closer people-to-people exchanges.”

Studies indicate that despite some progress in addressing health sector challenges, African countries still face challenges among others limited training. A 2022 study published in the British Medical Journal Global Health which surveyed 47 African countries stressed the lack of refresher courses as a major challenge facing the health sector in the region. The study entitled “the health workforce status in the WHO African Region: findings of a cross-sectional study,” revealed that the region’s ratio of well-trained health workers is 1.55 per 1000 people which is below the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommended 4.45 health personnel per 10000 people.

The continent’s health sector challenges are a result of many factors among others inadequate or no training capacity, rapid population growth, weak governance of the health workforce, career changes and poor retention of health worker. In 2022, the WHO projected that the shortage of well-trained health personnel in Africa will grow to 6,100,000 by the year 2030 which is increment of about 45% if compared with figures of 2013 when the last projections were made.

The study; “the health workforce status in the WHO African Region: findings of a cross-sectional study,” recommended that to address these challenges, African countries must put up measures meant to boost training and recruitment of health workers, improve their deployment and retention and increase investments for building respective country’s health workforce to meet their current and future needs.

Reflecting on the above, one can only conclude that such trainings are needed our health sector to grow. China has a rich experience in this field. The country has had several reforms in their medical sector which has seen them become one of few countries with a robust functioning healthcare system and consequently significantly increased their life expectancy which is expected to even get better by the year 2035.

In 2007 for example, China embarked on planning another reform. In 2009, in consultation with the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, on 6th April 2009, China’s State Council passed China’s Health Care Reform Plan promising to provide a universal primary health service to then country’s 1.3 billion people with the main being “everyone to enjoy basic health care services. Under this health care reform plan, it is the Government’s responsibility to build a safe, effective, convenient and inexpensive health care system covering both urban and rural residents.

Its major aim was universal health coverage by 2020 through strengthening health care delivery, health security and provision of essential medicines. This policy reform is a long-term endeavor but the returns are worth the investments. In 2022, China listed other key tasks for healthcare reforms major among them being the development of a multi-tiered insurance system.

In order to get the job done, the state council set up a state council health systems reform office where the activities of the reform would be coordinated. The following were the policy reforms.

Under social health security, the social health insurance package was extended, medical aid was extended to the eligible poor and those with catastrophic medical expenditure. The payment system was also reformed. Through this, 95% of the population has been covered by health insurance schemes by the end of 2017 and the so-called catastrophic health insurance introduced in all provinces.

Such a system in Uganda would reduce the burden of out of the pocket health expenditure and reduce suffering of many that find it hard to meet medical bills.

Today, China is implementing Healthy China 2030. The “Healthy China 2030” blueprint, was introduced by the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and the State Council, and it includes 29 chapters that cover key areas that focus on areas like public health services, environment management, the medical industry, and food and drug safety. The Primary goal of “healthy China 2030 is ‘all for Health” while its long-term goal is a universal health security system for China.

Important to note is that “Healthy China 2030” emphases disease prevention and encouraging people to adopt healthy lifestyles, improving the public health service system with aim of ensuring that ordinary residents will have their medical problems diagnosed earlier and so get timely treatment. Lastly, China wants to increase its citizens’ average life expectancy up from 76.34 recorded for 2015, to 77.3 by 2020 and 81 by 2035.

Aware that China is a developing country but has managed to achieve that much, even when it is quite challenging for the African setting, we ought to start on our own reforms. Like the Chinese say, a journey of 1000 miles starts with a single step. For Uganda, the journey should start with these training opportunities China is extending to Ugandan health workers through China-Uganda health communication & cooperation so that together, we continue efforts of building a community of shared for future for mankind in the new era of win-win cooperation.

Ham Wasswa Matovu is a medical doctor and research fellow at the Development Watch Centre.

Applause to China; They Are Truly Africa’s Key Ally on Mitigating Climate

By Steven Akabwayi

On 4th-6th September this year, the  Kenyan government with AU co-hosted the inaugural Africa climate summit in Nairobi. The three-day summit brought together leaders and investors from Africa and beyond to share experiences and solutions for a  sustainable, resilient Africa.

The event focused on Adaptation and resilience, renewable energy, sustainable development, and financing for climate action.

China’s efforts towards clean energy and sustainable development in Africa have not been sufficiently covered by most Western mainstream media who aim at cherry-picked stories and character assassination.

This is done to influence the masses into a coherent narrative of China being a bad character in regard to climate issues on the African continent yet on the actual ground Africa and China are key allies on climate.

China and Africa hold the same view that cooperation and investment in environment-friendly initiatives is a critical part of their practical relations.

Unlike most Western civil groups that dictate what Africa should do, China has collaborated with Africa on developing both adaptation and mitigation plans holding a view that African countries should have legitimate rights to Pursue independent and sustainable development in relative areas.

Despite China being the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse emissions currently producing about 12.7 billion metric tons of emissions annually dwarfing the US which is at 5.9 billion tonnes, the discrepancy in the above figures doesn’t tell the whole story.

China’s high number of greenhouse gas emissions can be attributed to the fact that it is a highly populous country that is still developing with a hunger for heavy industrialization.

Since 1850 China has emitted 284 billion tons of carbon dioxide but the US which industrialized far earlier has raised almost twice as much with 509 billion tons of emissions making it the highest emitter of all time.

Additionally, in terms of per capita emission, China lags behind most developed nations with an average person in China emitting 10.1 tons of carbon annually compared to 17.6 tons of that in the US according to the Rhodium group report.

China has also taken stringent measures to address climate apocalypse not only at home but also overseas. The country stands as the leading global investor in greenfield energy and infrastructure systems across the developing world, the same climate-friendly developments have also been intensified under the Belt and Road Initiative.

Since 2017, there has been a shift in the forces regarding the policy framework of the Belt and Road Initiative in Africa, The initiative which started as a massive infrastructure project, is now focused on green sustainable development.

In 2021, China and 53 African states signed a joint declaration that pointed out that climate change and its negative impacts are an urgent problem facing humanity.

The joint declaration added that that climate change should be tackled by speeding up affordable green and low carbon transition, promoting sustainable development, and jointly fostering a community of life for man and nature.

Another noteworthy point from the China-Africa joint declaration on climate was for both parties to speed up the implementation of South-South trilateral cooperation projects on climate change, and promote the building of low carbon and low greenhouse gas demonstration zones.

China also pledged to support Africa in training professional personnel for climate response and facilitate the delivery of climate technologies and services in Africa.

In terms of renewable capacity, China is the leading producer of solar energy and manufacturer of solar equipment.

In 2022, China’s President Xi Jinping announced that they are targeting to develop 1200 GW of solar and wind energy by 2030.

The China-Africa joint declaration on climate change further reveals that China has launched over 100 clean energy and green development projects under the framework  Forum on China-Africa cooperation, this is to support African countries in better utilizing solar hydropower, wind, and other renewable energy sources.

As one way of improving the energy structure of Africa’s countries, China has upgraded its industrial structure and built smart cities with advanced urban planning and waste management.

Inthe last 45 years in what Is often referred to as China’s economic miracle, China has been able to industrialize, transform villages into smart cities, and lift billions of people out of poverty.

On the other hand, Western countries have continued to preach water as they make wine.

Despite discouraging African governments from investing in the much-required energy that will lift millions out of poverty, Western governments are on the other hand in a rush to secure energy for their citizens.

The world has seen coal mines being opened up in Germany and the UK, new drilling and production in Norway, and funding of undersea pipelines by European governments.

China being the largest developing economy, it’s aware that for any country to develop and lift its citizens out of poverty, it needs not just energy but funding and investing in green energy.

Looking at the declaration of the 8th Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) held in Senegal’s capital, Dakar, 29-30 November 2021, China committed to work with African countries to ensure the continent tackles climate Change in all ways and more importantly meet their climate change mitigation targets. Indeed, African countries applauded China noting that they “fully leverage the China-Africa Environmental Cooperation Center to advance  policy dialogue, exchanges and cooperation on environmental protection. We  welcome the positive role of the China-African Union Energy Partnership to  increase the share of clean energy and promote sustainable energy development of  both sides.”

In his Congress speech in 2022, China’s President Xi Jinping stated in a report that China must also develop petroleum and natural gas more cleanly and efficiently, explore untapped resources, increase production, and develop systems for new energy sources.

In his keynote address during Africa Energy Week in South Africa, Uganda’s president Yoweri Kaguta Museveni emphasized that Uganda will proceed with its oil and gas developments as the oil commercialization will lift millions of people out of poverty and provide them the luxury to invest in renewable energies.

China’s state-owned company the China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) has been a key partner in designing and investing in the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline Project (EACOP) with an emphasis on ensuring a lower carbon footprint compared to other gas projects.

Steven Akabwayi is a research fellow at the Sino-Uganda Research Centre

China-Africa Relations: A Win-Win For All

By Steven Akabwayi

Increasingly, China is becoming a beacon of hope for the African continent. Now that the BRICS is here bigger, and better than before with the addition of two African countries with Egypt and Ethiopia joining South Africa, China will leverage this opportunity to strengthen its economic foothold on the African continent.

Speaking at the BRICS summit,  South African President Cyril Ramaphosa who was the summit’s chair envisioned a community of shared development and progress between China and Africa referring to it as “ a win-win” partnership.

“Our relationship with China will be one of promoting win-win outcomes based on important projects that we have initiated such as the African continental free trade area that is going to be the engine of our economic development”, noted South African leader, Cyril Ramaphosa.

On the other hand, his Chinese counterpart President Xi Jinping expressed commitment to supporting Africa’s industrialisation aspirations which will be achieved by rolling out the required initiatives. “China will launch an initiative in support of Africa’s industrialisation”, Xi said adding that the Chinese government will also harness its resources for cooperation with Africa and initiate business to support Africa in growing its manufacturing sectors so as to realise industrialisation and economic diversification.

Indeed, on the eve of the summit, in an Op-Ed, President Xi emphasised importance of mutual win-win cooperation between China and African countries which he emphasised will always be a guiding principle for China’s cooperation with African countries, writing that, it is “ten years since I put forth “sincerity, real results, amity and good faith” as the principles for China to develop its relations with Africa. The past decade has witnessed our joint pursuit of a China-Africa community with a shared future in the new era, and the completion and handover of a host of projects including the Africa CDC Headquarters, the Foundiougne Bridge in Senegal, the Nairobi Expressway and the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway, renewing China-Africa friendship across the vast lands of China and Africa…”

China has had several initiatives and interventions on the African continent one of them being the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The BRI that was launched in 2013 by President Xi Ping was based on the Silk Road that existed many centuries ago and acted as a global pathway for trade in goods and services also serving as a channel for sharing ideas and culture.

The BRI was primarily established to link East Asia and Europe through physical structure but was later expanded to Africa and other continents by the Chinese government significantly broadening the Chinese economic foothold on the continent.

Barely marking its first decade this year, the BRI’s impact have already been felt on the continent. Under the BRI there has been the establishment of railway networks in Eastern African countries connecting Addis Ababa and Djibouti, and other infrastructures such as ports in Kenya, and Karuma dam in Uganda among others.

These projects will accelerate regional integration by improving transportation and logistics which will boost economic development.

At the BRICS summit, member states expressed concern relating to trade-restrictive measures and inconsistencies stemming from international financial institutions such as the World Trade Organisation and the World Bank that are dominated by Western powers.

In his letter issued on 17th August, President Museveni with bitter concern condemned Bretton Woods institutions after the World Bank announced that it was freezing approval of new aid and loans towards Uganda the move that he described as an act an act of “provocation and arrogance”.

Many African countries have expressed resentment towards skewed financing arrangements from Western countries and institutions. These often come with stringent conditions that borrowers from developing economies must meet, the conditions which some observers say are always divorced from African realities and needs.

The harsh borrowing conditions by Western financial institutions have made most African countries turn towards China given its financing strategy that comes in the form of grants, aid, and loans at free or low interest rates.

The Chines loans are always directed on essentials sectors such as mining, transport and construction among others which boost Africa’s economies.

There has also been growing criticism and debates about unfair policies and practices by the Bretton Woods institutions.

Emerging economies have continuously called out America for holding unequal powers and favouritism towards Bretton Woods institutions weaponising dollar currency for example through unfair sanctions.

It’s against this backdrop that the BRICS leaders tasked their respective finance ministries and Central Banks to come up with a viable plan for the use of local currencies, payment instruments, and platforms by the time they report back for the next BRICS summit.

Steven Akabwayi is a Research Fellow at Sino-Uganda Research Centre.

In BRICS, Africa’s Interests Are Safe!

By Musanjufu Benjamin Kavubu

Finally, the 15th annual BRICS summit is happening, and it is taking place on the African continent. There has been a lot of talk about it this time as though it’s happening for the first time but that is because of where the world finds itself at the moment. Ukraine-Russia crisis is impacting everything and the BRICS summit is not unique to the fact after all the “R” in the “BRICS” is at the forefront of what the Kremlin has eloquently blamed on what they call NATO’s eastward expansion spree which threatens Moscow’s national and strategic interests. There is no doubt, this ongoing crisis which the west is fueling pumping arms into Ukraine has changed public opinion about the current World Order which the BRICS sees as biased to them.

BRICS started in 2001 as BRIC and it got its name from a report by Jim O’Neill who was an economist at Goldman Sachs and he predicted then that Brazil, Russia, India, and China would be the world’s leaders economically by 2050 because of the trajectory the four countries economies where taking. In 2010 South Africa joined to form the current BRICS that the whole world is talking about now which analysts argue it puts the G7 on spot especially that unlike G7, BRICS in all ways stands for the interests of the so-called emerging economies while speaking for entire global south.

Russia’s military operation in Ukraine is not the only reason the 15th BRICS summit is making headlines, but global problems like climate change are key to the agenda and also the over 40 requests from countries to join the formation is keeping the West on its heels.

At the moment, the formation is made up of about a population of 3.2 billion humans that can be also termed a labor force and market, a GDP of $ 24.44 Trillion that seems small compared to the population but an average of $ 7,500 GDP per capita is a dream for many in the global south especially in Africa.

At a time when the world is looking for an alternative to the current world order that is shaped by the US dollar the way BRICS operates seems like the best option going forward.  It’s rumored that Egypt, Algeria, Argentina, and Iran are close to membership then it’s a matter of time before everyone jumps onto the formation. Every developing country would desire this kind of forum that offers consultation and cooperation on significant economic and political issues between member countries and seems to be working.

Through the annual BRICS summit like the 15th South of the African continent, we should expect working groups on areas such as finance, trade, investment, science and technology, and health to set up and they are open to even those countries who are just willing to join. These working groups will then continue to meet as they from time to time identify areas of mutual interest and coordinate their efforts to foster inclusive development a major tenet of the BRICS.

As the formation meets on the African continent BRICS fits the current narrative by African leaders of complete independence from the West’s domination. BRICS members agreed at the start and going forward to strive for inclusive economic growth and to eradicate poverty, to fight unemployment, promote social inclusion, promote innovative economic development based on new technologies like blockchain and develop skills of citizens at the same time strongly cooperating with other countries.

Africa has a chance not to leave anyone behind through the BRICS formation since the ground in the group has proven the antithesis of elitism with its original intention of a restructured political, security, and economic outlook of the world. Africa also has conditions that are in line with the founding members of the BRICS for example fastest growing and emerging economies like Nigeria that is seeking membership, low labor costs that is being brain and muscle drained to Europe, favorable demographics of youths, and natural resources. These conditions need economic cooperation and development through multilateralism to have win-win situations at the end of the day.

To Africa, BRICS through the New Development Bank NDB can offer funding for infrastructure and sustainable development projects as it relives the pressure created by the Bretton Woods systems institutions like the IMF and World Bank that recently decided to stop funding in places like Uganda. For those countries that will go on to attain full membership, BRICS has the Contingent Reserve Arrangement CRA which is a financial safety net that provides liquidity support to members in case of balance of payment difficulties.

As AfCFTA works by boosting intra-African trade from 12% to 30% BRICS through Bilateral and Multilateral areas of trade, investment, technology transfer, Cultural exchange, and matters of security the Free trade Area on the continent can be unstoppable. BRICS along AfCFTA with the free movement of people would bring about people-to-people exchange programs and then foster research and innovation. Cultural exchange, enhance economic and social ties within the formation to create countries that can take on the West. Maybe even the International Criminal Court would be restructured and made to make more sense than being a tool for the West.

Apart from offering hope to Africa and the entire global south BRICS is so important that it offers a workable framework that can be exploited for real and true development that is inclusive. With BRICS bringing Africa on board the world Rebalancing will not be just a song but a reality. As Modi of India, Xi of China, Lula of Brazil, Ramaphosa of South Africa, and Putin is being represented by maybe Lavrov, since he has a war to attend to and just survived a mutiny come together BRICS through the NDB can start the process of dollarisation in Africa where US designed sanctions are used and hurt most.

By Musanjufu Benjamin Kavubu is a Junior Research Fellow at the Sino-Uganda Research Centre.







China’s BRI and a formidable AfCFTA in the face of Globalisation

By Musanjufu Benjamin Kavubu

After many years of planning, discussion and negotiations on the 1st day of 2021, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) came into existence. Now the basis for a free trade area is free movement of people and free movement of goods and commodities across countries’ borders. This whole process revolves around transportation. There is talk that “it’s easier to fly to France than fly directly to West Africa from East Africa” because there is barely any infrastructure to support intra African travels.

The Trans African highway system can easily come off as a myth if you looked at the figures for Intra-African trade.  For example, in East Africa, Kenya Exports about $ 1 billion worth of goods to the United States and $ 500 million to EU but it only exports $ 69 million to Ethiopia who they share a land border with. Of course, we can’t water down the impact of tariffs amongst African countries but there is need for ground infrastructure to foster an African free trade area.

We are yet to see the benefits of AfCFTA but in the last 10 years, there is something that has sprang up and it’s a remarkable vehicle for the African Free trade area. In September 2013 China’s President Xi Jinping put in place his grand political-economic project and in it came the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and at the moment it links about 155 countries and 32 International organisations. AfCFTA on paper brings together 55 markets of 1.2 billion people with a total GDP OF $ 2 trillion. The BRI project at the moment has 52 African countries out of its total 155 worldwide.

A close look at the BRI, one will understand how much China is subconsciously putting in an African Free trade area that benefits the European Union more since Exports to Africa stand at 36% against China’s 9%, EU imports from Africa including uranium for their weapons and energy are at 33% against China’s 5% but its China that is blamed to over invest in Africa’s infrastructure. One would say China uses its Silk Road history to link to Europe and maximise the African supply chain but then that would fit the definitions of Globalization which is the future.

In China’s bid to facilitate free movement of goods and services Beijing set up $ 3.3 billion in the Nador Med West industrial port in Algeria and it’s said that route is the North African link to West Africa through the Trans-Saharan Highway. In West Africa we have witnessed China set its foot on projects like the Abuja-Kaduna railway line that was done by China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) as Africa’s giant embarks on setting up a standard gauge across the country. In 2023, we saw China sign a deal that would see oil pipeline in Niger and set up an industrial park.

The El Hamdania Central Port is one of the largest in Africa and its part of the BRI in Algeria on top of it China has done a 750 mile East-West road that connects Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. At the peak of the resent Ethiopian civil war, the Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway was a source of contest but no one ever mentioned that it was a BRI by-product that links Landlocked Ethiopia to the Sea and the Ethiopia-Djibouti Water Pipeline all financed by EXIM Bank.


There is a 10,228 KM road that starts from the many ports of Egypt and ends in Cape Town. The great Trans African Highway. This route is full of Chinese projects that are bettering transportation and industrial infrastructure. It’s said Egypt could be the most important part of the BRI with projects like the Chinese Industrial zone in the Gulf of Suez, the electric train system for Egypt’s new capital. Of course, geopolitically, Egypt has always been a prize for world powers and China is not being left behind. Apart from the African Cup of Nations there, nothing that has made Egypt more active in African affairs like the AfCFTA.

Down The great Trans African Highway in Sudan, China has been part of the rehabilitation of railway lines by the Chines Company CRRC Ziyang. China is at the forefront of the oil industry in Sudan and it has promised to have a nuclear power station be set up in future.

Along the great Trans African Highway is the East African Community and the BRI has seen the development of the Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway and also Kenya’s biggest infrastructure project since Independence that spans 470 km in 4 hours and half, boosting the GDP by 1.5% and creating about 40,000 jobs for Kenyans. In Tanzania, the BRI has put in place a 2,561 km line that links Dar es Salaam to Mwanza on Lake Victoria and will further go to Burundi, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. In Uganda, there is the Entebbe-Kampala Expressway that connects Uganda to the world in a shortened time.

The BRI could be China’s plan to speed up trade with Africa but at the end of the day chokepoints are eliminated they in turn benefit the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) since there is this new mix of rail, road and water transport infrastructure being put in place. As China tries to reach more so called less developed countries, Africa is being opened up for Intra-African trade. Then AfCFTA will be able to lift 30 million African from poverty in no time.

Musanjufu Benjamin Kavubu is a Junior Research Fellow at Sino-Uganda Research Centre.





China-Uganda Engagement: An Afrocentric Analysis of the Relations

By Shivansh Trivedi

Over the past decade, China has emerged as a key player in Uganda’s economic development. The country has invested heavily in infrastructure projects, provided significant loans and grants, and facilitated the development of key sectors such as energy and industry. This opinion explores the role of China towards Uganda’s economic development, identifying key strategies and approaches that have led to success so far while examining the benefits of these engagements.

China-Uganda relations dates back to 1960s before Uganda gained her independence from Britain. Since then, China has been actively involved in Uganda’s economic development largely through trade. Initially, this partnership focused on agriculture, trade and infrastructure projects, with China investing heavily in the construction of roads, bridges, and other key transportation networks. One notable example is the Kampala-Entebbe Expressway, a 51-kilometer highway linking the capital city to its international airport.

China has also played a major role in Uganda’s energy sector. The country has been grappling with power shortages for decades, which have limited economic growth and development. Chinese investments in hydroelectric power plants, transmission lines, and grid upgrades have helped to address this problem. One of the notable examples is the Karuma Hydroelectric Power Station, which has a capacity of 600 megawatts and is being constructed by Chinese company Sinohydro. The project is expected to significantly increase Uganda’s power generation capacity and reduce the country’s reliance on expensive imported fuels.

Apart from infrastructure and energy, China has also invested significantly in Uganda’s telecommunications sector. The country has been expanding its broadband connectivity and upgrading its digital infrastructure rapidly, with Chinese firms such as Huawei at the forefront of this development. Uganda has also signed agreements with China on the development of a national data center, which will help to consolidate the country’s digital infrastructure and enable it to better harness the benefits of the digital economy.

One notable case study in China-Uganda economic relations is the Entebbe International Airport expansion project. In December 2020, the airport unveiled its newly completed $200 million expansion, which was largely funded by the Export-Import Bank of China. The project involved the construction of a new terminal building capable of handling up to 5 million passengers annually, as well as numerous upgrades to existing facilities. This project is credited for creating over 1,500 jobs for Ugandans, while also facilitating greater connectivity and tourism opportunities for the country. In an interview with CGTN Africa, Works and Transport minister, Gen. Edward Katumba Wamala, praised China’s involvement in this project, noting that “the Chinese are not only investing in hard infrastructure, but also in soft infrastructure, which is a great catalyst for our economic development.”

If we analyze all sectors, China is playing a critical role in Uganda’s economic development. Its investments in infrastructure, energy, and telecommunications have helped to address key development challenges and unlock new opportunities for growth and prosperity. However, there is also a need to be cautious about the extent to which China’s involvement in Uganda’s development agenda is sustainable and aligned with the country’s long-term needs and aspirations.

Moving forward, Uganda needs to adopt an Afrocentric approach that is based on its own development priorities rather than those of its partners. This requires a careful balancing of interests and priorities, and a deep understanding of the implications of different investment models and approaches. It is important for Uganda to leverage its own natural resources and strategically position itself in key sectors that can drive long-term economic growth and transformation. The good news is that historically and in practice, unlike western development partners, China does not interfere in internal affairs of allies that it will resist such important moves.

For Uganda to maximize relations with China, it needs to adopt a holistic approach that goes beyond infrastructure, energy, agriculture, and manufacturing. This means diversifying its partnerships with China to include sectors such as tourism, health and education. While China has also been supporting Uganda’s health sector especially through its visiting medical teams, this sector can further be strengthened. In addition, Uganda should prioritize skills transfer and capacity building to ensure that Chinese investments are catalytic. This can be achieved through the establishment of joint training programs, technology transfer agreements, and collaboration between academic and research institutions. While China is already providing thousands of trainings and scholarships, this is an area that can be improved by offering more opportunities.

Uganda’s National Development Plan (NDP III) provides a useful guide for this approach, as it emphasizes a focus on promoting industrialization, job creation, and export diversification. The plan highlights key sectors that are critical for driving economic growth, such as agriculture, tourism, and manufacturing. Uganda needs to leverage these sectors and ensure that Chinese investments align with its own development priorities. With the many Chinese led industrial parks such as Kapeeka and Mbale, this will not be hard to achieve.

The cooperation between Uganda and China are textbook example of a win-win cooperation promoted by Chinese president, Xi Jinping. For example; For Uganda, the partnership with China provides a critical source of funding for key development projects that would otherwise be difficult to finance. It also facilitates the transfer of technology and skills, which in turn can contribute to long-term economic growth and diversification. Additionally, the partnership can help to position Uganda as a key player in regional integration and cooperation, which is critical for unlocking new opportunities for trade and investment.

For China, investments in Uganda represent an opportunity to expand its footprint in Africa and access new markets for its products and services. It also provides a way to diversify its own economic interests and reduce its dependence on traditional western markets.

In conclusion, China has played a critical role in Uganda’s economic development over the past decades. The partnership has focused on infrastructure, energy, agriculture, industrialization and telecommunications which are key in addressing key development challenges and unlocked new opportunities for growth and prosperity. Moving forward, Uganda needs to adopt an Afrocentric approach that prioritizes its own development priorities and maximizes the benefits of its partnership with China. This requires a careful balancing of interests and priorities and a long-term perspective that takes into account both short-term gains and long-term sustainability.

Shivansh Trivedi is a Research Fellow with Sino-Uganda Research Centre and a Contributor with Al Jazeera’s AJ Stream.


Strategic Government Planning is at the Root of China’s Modernisation

By Moshi Israel

The path of China to modernisation is a tale of perseverance, strategic planning, reform and whole process democracy. It is a path trodden by all the people of china with the Communist Party of China (CPC) leading the way. China’s path to modernisation should be a revered blueprint for other developing countries. It is testament to the fact that with a determined population and an organized government that appreciates its own contemporary and historical context, development can be achieved at the highest level.

Before the communist revolution in 1949, China like other impoverished countries struggled to find its identity. The country was stuck in the murky waters of constant civil wars, the opium wars, colonialism and years of humiliation. The advent of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) under Chairman Mao ushered in a new era of strategic ambition for the Chinese. Since then, the CPC has been at the forefront of efforts to turn china into a modern, developed and advanced socialist country with Chinese characteristics.

During this year’s April 21st Opening Ceremony of the Lanting Forum on Chinese Modernisation and the World in Shanghai, H.E State Councillor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang gave a keynote speech in which he uttered these immortal words that capture the spirit of China’s Modernisation path;

A towering tree grows from its roots, and a long river flows from its source. Likewise, our success in Chinese modernization was not handed down from the heaven or just emerged by itself. It has been attained step by step through determined, painstaking efforts of the Chinese people under the leadership of the CPC always staying true to its founding mission. Chinese modernization is deeply rooted in Chinese history, practices and philosophies.”

The above quote should be framed and hanged on the walls of all policy makers in all developing countries. Words are the building blocks for action. A careful study especially here in Uganda of China’s path to modernisation can yield inspiration in various forms and put the country on a similar path. This path should involve all Ugandans and should be led by a government invested in long-term strategic planning.  One avenue to study are the characteristics of China’s path to Modernisation.

The first characteristic involves the fact that china’s modernisation covers a huge population of well over a billion people (1.4b). The lifting of millions of people out of absolute poverty is not only an advantage for China but also helps the world at large. The more people out of poverty, the more the world realizes its sustainable development goals expressed through the United Nations. Also, China has over 50 nationalities and a vast territory which in most cases is a recipe for disaster. However, all these diverse peoples have been well integrated into a development program that leaves no one behind. This is not easy to achieve but should serve as an example to a country like Uganda which also boasts numerous ethnicities and tribes. Cultural diversity is a strength and not a weakness.

Secondly, China’s modernisation involves common prosperity for all. This involves the reduction and elimination of the gap between the rich and poor. China’s President Xi Jinping commonly says “The Country is the people, and the people is the country.”  No country can achieve development without involving its people. For instance, China has established the world’s largest compulsory education system, social security system and health system. This prosperity is not relegated to the Chinese people but also extended globally to include Asia, Europe, South America and Africa. Initiatives such as the Belt and Road (BRI), FOCAC and GDI are China’s embrace of prosperity with the rest of the world.

Also, another characteristic of China’s modernisation path is the modernisation of Material and Cultural-Ethical advancement. It is rooted in Karl Marx’s philosophy of all-round development of the human being. China recognises the importance of material abundance in building a modern socialist country. However, to avoid the social breakdown in some other developed countries, the Chinese also value and implement Cultural-ethical advancement that focuses on upholding morality and social values to build a well-balanced material and Spiritual state.

The fourth characteristic of china’s modernisation honours the link between humanity and nature. The world today is seemingly united in the fight against the existential crisis of climate change. China has been taking major steps in curbing its carbon emissions. It has also pushed for sustainable development and promised to achieve carbon dioxide peaking and neutrality. This is an area in which, many developing countries are facing challenges and require extensive research and investment. Fortunately, China is also looking to address this global challenge through the ‘Belt and Road Green Development International Alliance.’

Last but not least, the Chinese path to modernisation is a path of peaceful development. A world without conflicts is an ideal world for all involved. It is a safe world for development and it is especially important for developing nations. China rejects the old notions of development through war, plunder and destruction of others. Vital to Chinese interests is a peaceful world in which to conduct relations. Therefore, china advocates for mutual respect and win-win partnerships. China’s credentials as a peace advocate have been enormously boosted by the recent brokering of the Saudi-Iran peace deal that had a positive effect on conflicts in the Middle East.

It is therefore, vital for developing nations to study China’s modernisation path that elevated it from a century of humiliation to a modern economic and political power house slated to overtake the United States as the largest economy in the world.  It is important to note that when the cold war ended in 1991, western countries were jubilant and celebrated the victory of capitalism. Several scholars labelled it the ‘end of history,’ because capitalism was the sole system driving human civilization. However, China through the strategic planning of the CPC and Chinese people produced a miracle, it achieved in a few decades, a kind of development that took western countries thousands of years. China’s modernisation is proof that there is more than one way to achieve development.

The Writer is a Research Fellow with the Development Watch Centre




Fighting Extreme Poverty: Lessons from China’s Poverty Eradication Initiative

By Balongoofu Daniel

The world bank under the poverty and inequality Platform (PIP) as of march 2023 assessed global poverty from a period of 2020 with special focus on the global south that to a larger extent is victimized by this catastrophe. The prevailing data collected from nations with functional grid systems that track levels of poverty indicate that the global head count ratio increased by 0.1 percent to 8.5 percent resulting into a revision in the number of people living in extreme poverty from 648 million to 659 million additionally from south Asia with about 5 million people, The middle east and North Africa contributing 4 million people resulting into an increase of about 11 million people living in extreme poverty hence forth.

Focusing on sub-Saharan Africa, the provisional data indicates that the global head count ratio as of march 2023 stands at about 86.4 percent and the number of poor people estimated to be about 969 million. This speaks volumes of what needs to be done to check these sharp rising poverty trends especially in this part of the world.

This to occur, countries in Global South may have to learn from other countries where the war against poverty has been successful. For example, picking from China, a self-established model in poverty eradication, African countries can learn more on how to successfully contain poverty. Arguably, China is of a great lesson to the global south and Sub-Saharan Africa in this fight that the nation evolved from a history not alien to the prevailing social-political and economic structure of the sub-Saharan region. Right from atrocities being war torn by both civil wars, the fight against colonialism, food insecurity and a big growing population with limited resources at the time. The nation embarked on a long journey of strategic self-transformation and creating of opportunities that have made it the worlds production hub and the second largest economy.

In February of 2021, president Xi announced that extreme poverty had been eradicated in the nation in what he termed as a miracle. He announced that; “Through combined efforts of the whole party and the entire nation, China has secured a complete victory in its fight against poverty in this important year”.

The unification of China by the CPC in 1949 followed major land reforms that the government under took as the first measure. It should be noted that the period during the 30-year long wars characterized with both civil and fights against the Japanese colonialists at the time which followed a complete institutional and national break down by fighting war lords who divided the nation into territories and taxed the people to fund their wars hence contributing to the acute levels of poverty. The land reforms saw the elimination of the first major institutional obstacle since the state retained exclusive rights to the land that later saw investment in improved farmlands irrigation which gave the peasants modern farming trainings and employment. The land reform also saw a redistribution of land to peasants and tenants who then acquired land which encouraged wide scale agricultural production through cooperatives later in 1953.  The government as well heavily invested in rural education, medical services as major roots and basis that the current 27 trillion dollars economy inherits.

Later during 1978, China registered great success over the poverty elimination fight under the central collective leadership of president Deng Xiaoping that declared poverty as not being socialism therefore the party undertook efforts here to liberalize the Chinese market through opening it up for foreign direct investments and commercial production. This attracted investors with huge capitals that drastically promoted value addition on the locally produced agricultural produce of which the huge population provided a ready market necessary for-profit maximization.

It should be noted that the government as well took strategic reforms to accord the high-tech state-owned enterprises that drove the of value addition initially a level of autonomy that they were to compete with other private enterprises, determine production and supply and drive reinvestment of the profits accumulated. This strategically introduced the capitalistic traits of profit maximization hence gradually abandoning the socialistic home-based production. This resulted into a massive average GDP growth of about 8.2 percent per year on average between 1978 and 2020.therefore as a result, on average there were 18.7 fewer poor people in China since 1978 hence the miracle that president Xi highlighted in his victory speech.

China’s fight against corruption is commendable and cannot be ignored while addressing the fight against poverty. It should be noted that this cancer has greatly undermined the gains of economic development especially in sub–Saharan Africa therefore the global south aught to borrow a leaf from China’s defeat of this vice. From the 1970s when China begun to carry out the policy reforms and opening up, The CPC government at the time took very stringent measures against economic crimes such as smuggling, embezzlement and taking bribes. The road to combating this cancer featured addressing of both the symptoms and the root causes of corruption. Comprehensive treatment and gradual intensification of efforts to eliminate the root causes of economic crimes were deployed and till the 21st century, China has constantly expanded the corruption prevention frame work from special prevention of individual corruption to preventive work and administrative examination with approval, financial management and cadre personal system reforms under the national bureau of corruption prevention to co ordinate the work of combating this vice and holding victims accountable by both the law and national publicity. It should be noted that China has been effective in fighting this vice which has made it swift for the implementation of these poverty eradication programs.

Conclusively, the new battle against poverty is now carried on by president Xi’s tenure. After the tremendous successes in fighting poverty which in saw Beijing announcing it had realized its first centenary goal – building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and president Xi declaring that the country was embarking on what he described as “marching in confident strides toward the second centenary goal of building China into a great modern socialist country in all respects,” he called for implementation of newer strategies to lift the remaining poor to prosperity. The new strategies call for identifying the most vulnerable, then analysis is done on the root causes of poverty. These programs have been decentralized to the lowest political composition of society that help in implementation and accountability to the central government and it should be however noted that the present-day mechanisms involve elements of poverty relief dispatched by the government directly to the affected people among special transformational programs such as electrification and connectivity through roads to encourage economic transformation and productivity. As other countries in the global south such as Uganda come up with programs meant to fight poverty such as Parish Development Model, China offers a rich pool of expertise where we can draw lessons on how to successfully end extreme poverty.

Balongoofu Daniel is a Junior Research Fellow at Sino-Uganda Research Centre




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