(Xinhua) -- Cooperation between China and Africa is
bound to scale new heights in information and communications
technology (ICT), an industry head said recently.
International Telecommunication Union
(ITU) Secretary-general Zhao Houlin made the remarks in an
interview with Xinhua ahead of the upcoming Beijing Summit of
the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) scheduled for
Zhao pointed out that China and Africa
represent different stages on the same development path. He said
that Africa overall remains in a primary stage of development
with huge potential yet to be unleashed, similar to China’s
trajectory decades ago.
China has largely alleviated poverty
and emerged increasingly stronger with the adoption of
groundbreaking measures since the launch of its reform and
opening-up policy, with a rich history of experience to share
with African countries, Zhao said.
Cooperation between the two countries
dates back to as early as the 1960s when newly-independent
African countries one after another sought to establish friendly
relations with China, the ITU chief said.
Noting that more and more African
people have felt the tangible benefits of relations with China,
and African leaders are recognizing the potential of
cooperation, Zhao said he believed that the September summit
will provide a better platform for future collaboration.
“Countries such as Senegal, South
Africa and Rwanda all expressed their hope to strengthen
cooperation with China regarding the construction of ICT
infrastructure,” Zhao said, adding that “currently, many African
countries have placed ICT infrastructure construction in a
strategic position, setting specific near-term goals.”
According to the ITU chief, every 10
percentage points increase in broadband penetration rates
contributes to GDP growth by one or two percent in developing
Increased broadband access is a real
blessing to African countries, which can effectively boost the
economy, he said.
As many African countries are eagerly
seeking self-reliance and independent development, they pin
their hopes on a large number of African small and medium-sized
enterprises (SMEs), which have played a significant role in
boosting ICT infrastructure construction here, Zhao said.
“China has a wealth of experience in
the use of ICTs by SMEs and can thus provide them (African
enterprises) with many opportunities for cooperation,” he said.
Moving forward, China and Africa could
further expand regional and multilateral cooperation in
telecommunications, providing greater support for regional
connectivity and inter-country exchange, Zhao said.
The ITU, China and Africa are expected
to discuss plans on strengthening tripartite collaboration, the