[photopress:mbazhejiangnormaluniv_logo.jpg,full,alignright]The first comprehensive university institute of Africa studies was been set up at the Zhejiang Normal University.
Co-established by Zhejiang Normal University and the China Education Association for International Exchange, it focuses on politics and international relations, economy and education of African countries.
In the institute there are eight researchers. It is expected to recruit two to seven more by the end of this year, and African experts shall be hired as visiting professors.
Liu Baoli, vice director with the international cooperation and exchange department of the Ministry of Education, said, ‘Enhancing exchange and cooperation between China and Africa ineducation, science and culture and promoting bilateral relations based on mutual understanding, trust and appreciation shall benefit not only Chinese and African people, but also the whole world.’
Remi Sonaiya, head of the foreign language department of the Obafemi Awolowo University, saw this move as indicative of desire, on the part of the Chinese people, ‘to enter into a stronger partnership with Africa, and to reinforce and further boost longstanding relationships . . . between China and African countries.’
Mei Xinlin, president of the Zhejiang Normal University and head of the new institute said China has less than ten Africa studies centers in universities and the establishment of the institute is prompted by increasing need of Chinese people to know more about Africa, as recent years saw a rapid development of Sino-African relations.
China has pledged to train 15,000 African professionals and increase the number of Chinese government scholarships to African students from the current 2,000 per year to 4,000 per year by 2009.
Source: China View