China can play role in building capacity of African think tanks

VICTORIA FALLS, Zimbabwe, April 9 (Xinhua) -- China can play a critical role in supporting African think tanks to build the capacity of African governments in implementing the African Union(AU) Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals, officials and experts have said.

Africa looked positively to China's development experiences and could immensely benefit from collaboration with the Asian nation in the area of knowledge-sharing, said United NationsEconomic Commission for Africa (UNECA) deputy executive secretary Abdalla Hamdok.

He told Xinhua Saturday on the sidelines of the 3rd Africa Think Tank Summit in zimbabwe's resort town of Victoria Falls that China's development experiences were extremely useful to the African continent because the Asian nation had passed through the same situation that Africa finds itself today.

"China is an African friend, a partner over the years and Africa can benefit a lot from China experiences," said Hamdok."...the experiences that will be useful to the continent as it implements its development agenda."

Emmanuel Nnadozie, executive secretary of intergovernmental organization, the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF), told Xinhua that African think tanks were poorly resourced, and this affected their ability to effectively play their capacity building role on the continent.

"China can play a very critical role in supporting African think tanks in a number of ways, and the first is to assist African think tanks to deal with their number one challenge, which is the challenge of their own sustainability and effectiveness," Nnadozie said.

African think tanks could also benefit through cooperation in knowledge and information sharing with Chinese think tanks, he said.

"China can provide a platform where there can be exchange of ideas, collaborative work and sharing of experiences which will promote knowledge sharing and learning," Nnadozie added.

He said apart from financial challenges, African think tanks also faced the challenge of inadequate skills, making themselves unable to influence policy making and policy implementation in a positive way.

AU Commissioner for Economic Affairs Mothae Maruping told Xinhua that the AU supported South-South cooperation in the area of knowledge sharing in support for development.

"All help that can be mobilized for our think tanks will be most welcome so that they are alive and vibrant and able to exchange views with think tanks from elsewhere in the world," said Maruping."We welcome support, particularly from those who have been struggling like us."

The summit which ran from April 8-9 was organized by the ACBF in partnership with the African Union Commission, NEPAD and UNECA to discuss the role that African think tanks can play in supporting implementation of SDGs and Agenda 2063.

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