Seychelles' former president Mancham speaks on China's role in Africa at Guangzhou business forum
Former Seychelles' president James Mancham (Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - The former president of the Seychelles, James Mancham, has said that China, no longer an inwardly-focused ‘sleeping giant’, is active in its involvement on the African continent, contributing to new infrastructure and development in many African countries, including the Seychelles archipelago.
Mancham was speaking at the 4th Huatuo CEO Forum held in Guangzhou, China on July 25, alongside other former leaders such as former US President Bill Clinton, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd and former South Korean president Lee Myung-bak.
The forum’s 2,500 attendees participated in discussions on current issues affecting the world with Yan Yiehe, the forum’s promoter and chairman of one of the largest private enterprises in China, the China Pacific Construction Group. A highly influential Chinese businessman, Yan has won numerous awards and consultants to over 100 local governments.
According to a press release issued by Mancham’s office, the aim of the forum was to connect people of different cultures and foster a common view: that while Chinese-led development needed support from the rest of the world, China also needed to make an effort to work towards ‘global harmony’.
Harmony seemed to be the key component of Mancham’s speech, which focused on Chinese investments in African natural resources.
Fresh from co-hosting a COMESA (Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa) meeting of Elders with Seychelles Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Paul Adam, he listed some of China’s many infrastructure projects in the COMESA region.
“Today China is no longer a sleeping giant which is inwardly focused. China has expanded its influence abroad and is now acting, with justification, on the international diplomatic stage with a newfound confidence anchored in its growing economic power,” he said in his speech.
“And now I speak not just as a member of the Committee of Elders of COMESA but also as a global citizen when I ask the question which is on everybody’s mind as to what China wants from the rest of the world and how will she use her power in shaping the 21st Century.”
China’s involvement and impact in the global socio-economic development, he said, has become a point of concern with other nations anxious about the implications of a China-dominated world.
“We have known Chinese smiling diplomacy, Chinese ping-pong diplomacy, but will China adopt an arrogant diplomacy if it predominated in world business and politics?”
But Mancham, whose first visit to China was in 1978, spoke of the tremendous challenges the country had overcome since his experience 36 years ago.
“Of course this has not personally taken me by surprise because I have always known that the Chinese people have exceptional genes when it comes to entrepreneurship, business and trading,” he said.
“Otherwise, how can one explain that after all the decades of socialist economic indoctrination you find Chinese people all over the world today with entrepreneurial talents in the pursuit and creation of wealth?”
Mancham is of the opinion that in the face of an increasingly uncertain global future, China should continue to strive to build its powerbase and “win peace” in the world.
“With the world becoming a global village we must all work together to develop our potential in a common endeavour to alleviate poverty and to improve the standard of living and the quality of life of all the people in the world,” he concluded.