Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

13 July 2012

Tanzania: Some NGOs Impede African Progress

Sozhou — NON Governmental Organizations (NGOs) working in Africa under the sponsorship of former colonial masters should be patriotic and actively collaborate with governments in power, instead of serving the interests of their masters who support them financially.

Speaking at the China-Africa People's Forum which ended here on Wednesday, former president Benjamin Mkapa said that some NGOs in Africa become a problem when governments in Africa struggle to execute their planned programmes.

Mr Mkapa said that Africa needs rational and people-centred NGOs, which are home grown, and are ready to collaborate with government leaders in seeing to it that development programmes are well implemented.

"Some NGOs that work in Africa today try to parade the oppressive demands of their masters and in doing so they become barriers to what some governments in Africa would like to implement and such an attitude creates barriers to development," he said.

He urged NGOS in Africa to make the voices of ordinary people be heard, especially those struggling to help youths to improve their socio-economic lives.

The forum, which took place in Sozhou city, was attended by more than 300 delegates from non-governmental organizations and political, economic and media sectors of China and 35 African countries, and officials from the AU Commission. Mr Xi Jinping, Vice President of China attended and addressed the opening ceremony of the Forum.

In light of the theme of "People's Voice, People's Friendship and Cooperation for the People," the forum held discussions about new ideas of win-win cooperation, new measures for common development and new forms of NGO exchanges between China and Africa.

A series of side activities were held in parallel with the Forum, such as the Dialogue on Joint Efforts for a Better Life, the Photo Exhibition on China-Africa Friendship and the Traditional Chinese and African Art Exhibitions.China and Africa have committed themselves to building a new type of strategic partnership by enhancing political mutual trust, deepening practical cooperation in business and trade and strengthening people-to-people and cultural exchanges for mutual-learning, which have brought enormous benefit to our people.

A press release issued after the meeting said that the comprehensive and sound development of China-Africa relations is possible because the two sides have always treated each other with mutual respect and as equals, have always trusted and supported each other, pursued mutual benefit and common development, and have always stressed on friendship among the peoples while determined to move on side by side.

"African NGOs highly appreciate the outstanding contribution made by the Chinese government to promoting China-Africa friendship, exchanges and cooperation, while Chinese NGOs take a positive note of Africa's effective efforts in participating in international affairs, pursuing development through unity and in promoting people's livelihood" said the communique.

The booming exchanges and cooperation at the people's level in recent years, especially among NGOs, women and youth organizations, think-tanks, and the legal circles of the two sides, have positively contributed to the comprehensive and sound development of China-Africa friendly relations and helped enhance popular support to the new type of strategic partnership between China and Africa.

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