The Executive Directors of the Afro-Sino Centre of International Relations (ASCIR) headquartered in Ghana, paid a two-day working visit to Burkina Faso. The Pan-African research centre, established to lead efforts in analysing and assessing Africa-China engagements, also has a mandate to inspire African scholars to develop interest in the Africa-China space.
As an organization keen on conducting independent and objective research, the directors explained during a media encounter, that engaging with stakeholders across the continent was central to their work.
Together with their board chairman, Dr Adam Abdul-Rahaman, Pamela Adwoa Carslake and her deputy, Arhin Acheampong, paid courtesy calls on Ambassadors of South Africa, Nigeria and China to Burkina Faso. The delegation also met with the AU Commission in Ouagadougou, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and engaged with students and staff of the University of Ouagadougou where they stressed the importance of a centre like the ASCIR.
Ms Carslake during an engagement with doctoral students and lecturers at the University of Ouagadougou, touched on the need for the brilliant minds in academia to take an interest in the Africa-China domain, particularly now that Burkina Faso has established relations with China.
At the South African Embassy, Mr Acheampong pointed out the need for South Africa to leverage its position on the continent as the largest trading partner of China and member of the BRICS to shape Africa-China engagements by exerting agency in their partnerships. The Charge d’affaires, Mr Tshamano Milubi, assured the delegation of South Africa’s commitment in shaping Africa-China relations positively.
On the other hand, the representative of the AU Commission, Mr Ahmed Elemkass, expressed his gratitude to the centre for the visit and reiterated the need for a mutually beneficial relationship with China.
The Chinese ambassador, HE Li Jian also applauded the Centre for their courage in taking up such a task as he expressed his gratitude and admiration to the delegation for the work they do. Like Ambassador Jian, the Director General of Bilateral Cooperation at the Burkina Faso Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Madam Olivia Rouamba, recognized the young relations between the two countries and, hence, stressed the need for better cooperation and understanding between them for an effective and mutually beneficial relationship. She hoped the Centre’s work would help policy makers in their engagements with China.
While addressing the Ambassador of Nigeria, Mr Acheampong pointed out the immense human resource Nigeria brings to the table and asked for a more intentional effort to engage Nigerian scholars, both at home and in the diaspora, in the Afro-Sino space.
The board chairman expressed his gratitude to the host organizations for their warm reception of the delegation and stressed the need for greater stakeholder engagements and cooperation.