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Africans in China can participate more in the Belt & Road Initiative

Editor: Qian Ding 丨CCTV.com

08-31-2018 12:02 BJT

By Hu John, founder of African Fashion Show International, based in Shanghai

A number of African and African-American fashion designers have embarked on a journey that is in line with China's Belt & Road Initiatives (B&R). They believe the initiative offers plenty of good opportunities for them, as well other countries that are actively engaged in its projects.

The Belt & Road Initiatives has created a positive impact for Africans who want to learn and gain more business experiences. Many African students have arrived in China to earn either a Bachelor, Master's, or a Ph D. from Chinese Universities.

Historically, many Africans have looked toward countries, such as the United States and United Kingdom to seek better opportunities, but times have changed and China, a nation which is thinking ahead, is encouraging its citizens to develop closer friendships with a large continent filled with vitality and resources – Africa.


A better way to gain access to the underdeveloped yet promising land is to offer help by sharing knowledge. There is an old adage in Africa: Give a man a fish and he can eat for a day, Teach a man to fish and he can eat for a lifetime. 

There are still many Africans who remain unsure about what the Belt & Road Initiatives is and how to support their country’s position in the B&R. Frankly speaking, there are not enough representatives from non-governmental positions endorsing the program.

Some Africans fear it could serve as another form of colonialism. Fortunately, there are some additional ways this negative propaganda can be diffused. The private sector should become a stronger voice. African business owners who can speak on their experiences should voice their successes and their concerns on how they have benefited from the B&R.

Black Americans have also supported Africans in the B&R initiative. For example, some of them are living in China and have been received with open arms from other Africans living here to support new growth on the African continent.

As a Black person born in America (Los Angeles), I believe that greater collaboration between a Black American, an African and a Chinese business can strike as a gold mine that have yet to be realized. Three individuals from three different continents aligned with one goal could be an amazing achievement waiting to happen.

In March of 2017, I founded Shanghai Black Fashion Week and have many opportunities to educate, facilitate, and present what African fashion is within China, which created new opportunities for designers, models, makeup artists, fabric suppliers, trading companies and other companies etc., both from China and other nations.

After a successful 1st show in Hangzhou on August 4, 2018, the AFSI has received many inquiries from over 9 different cities in China and much support for others to continue our efforts in educating, facilitating and empowering our fashion designers and its fashionistas who enjoy promoting Black culture in China.

Additionally, newly-formed medias lead by a coalition of Africans and its diasporas and Chinese nationals, who have been to Africa with endorsements from the Africans living in China, should be established to inform its citizens on the benefits of B&R.

Today, there are more than 500,000 African students living in China, not including the African diasporas and African working class and business owners. Having a media platform can create more dialogue between the parties who are involved with B&R. When there is a variety of opinions and ideas presented from different professional backgrounds, innovation tends to be a direct result of such collaboration.

These are just a few solutions that can be applied to encourage more individuals and companies to participate, engage and propagate the positive news of the B&R. We can do more to benefit Africans and its diaporas, as well as Chinese friends who are looking for new opportunities in such a very competitive market.

(The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com. )

Panview offers a new window of understanding the world as well as China through the views, opinions, and analysis of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

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