To deepen Sino-African cooperation, the China Ministry of Commerce said it will step up efforts to formulate specific work plans for nine programs in areas such as digital innovation.
Experts said deeper Sino-African partnership in digital innovation is of greater importance as the COVID-19 pandemic accelerates digital transformation in many economies. According to the digital innovation program, China will carry out 10 digital economy projects for Africa, set up centers for Sino-African cooperation in satellite remote sensing, and support the development of Sino-African joint laboratories, partner institutes and scientific and technological innovation bases for cooperation.
The nine programs as part of the first three-year plan of China-Africa Cooperation Vision 2035 will foster partnerships not only in poverty reduction, trade and investment, but also in emerging areas such as the digital economy, low-carbon development and vocational training.
– Shu Jueting, Spokesperson, Department of Commerce
In addition, China will work with African countries to expand e-commerce cooperation, host online shopping festivals with high quality African products and e-commerce promotion activities for tourism, and a campaign to promote 100 African stores and 1,000 African products to launch on e-commerce platforms.
Zhou Mi, a senior researcher at the China Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, said global economic recovery is very uneven between regions, and development gaps in the digital economy and green technologies are among the factors fueling such imbalances. The digital divide in Africa is getting worse during the pandemic.
As the pandemic has severely affected traditional trade and investment activities while accelerating the development of the digital economy, it is of great importance for Africa to unlock the potential of the digital economy to stimulate economic growth and strengthen global connections. At the same time, the increased Sino-African cooperation in the digital economy will facilitate the formation of an international consensus to create more effective, widely accepted and comprehensive rules in the industry to create a more stable environment for growth and global cooperation in the digital economy, and that is also valuable because the digital economy is becoming a key area for global competition.
Chinese companies are currently actively investing in African countries to build digital infrastructure, offer vocational training for the local population and provide Internet services. For example, a Chinese telecommunications company started a course to prepare local information and communication technology students for the future of work.
The course aims to inspire local talent, improve knowledge sharing, promote better understanding and interest in the information and communication technology sector, and encourage participation in the digital community. The course focuses on the latest technologies such as 5G, cloud computing, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things.
As reported by OpenGov Asia, China’s leading industrial regulator has unveiled a five-year plan to accelerate the integration of the digital and real economies as part of a broader drive to establish a policy framework for the country’s industrial development by 2025.
The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said accelerating the deep integration of information technologies in all industrial chains is of great importance to advance industrial digitization and digital industrialization in the new era. Under the five-year plan, the ministry will adopt five special initiatives, including promoting the digital transformation of manufacturing and industrial internet platforms to drive industrial modernization.
The five-year plan contained both quantitative and qualitative goals. By 2025, for example, the country wants to increase the penetration rate of industrial Internet platforms to 45% and the popularization rate of digital research, development and design tools to 85%.
China will accelerate digital government building to improve administrative services. Accordingly, the country should create a national digital government network to improve regional and inter-agency information sharing and ensure that its digital public services cover more sectors and are more accessible.