by Lu Duobao and Chrispinus Omar
NAIROBI, March 10 (Xinhua) -- China's opening-up in the past 40 years has shown Africa there's an alternative way of modernization, said Anzetse Were, an independent development economist.
During China's economic boom, some African countries gained comprehensively from Beijing's policy of opening-up, she told Xinhua in an interview on Friday.
What's more important, Were said, it showed African countries that industrialization is central to development and it can be done in a different way.
She named Rwanda and Ethiopia as examples. The two east African nations, which follow a development path similar to that of China, have registered faster economic growth than the region's average, rising 5.9 percent and 8.0 percent respectively in 2016.
Beijing deserves praise for its effective business strategies, and African countries can learn much from China, Were said.
"Industrialization has to be deliberate. It won't happen on its own," she said.
Were said China plays an important role in the industrialization process of Africa. The infrastructure projects that China has helped African countries build lay a foundation for the integration of the continent, which is essential to forming a massive consumer market.
The Kenyan economist said the industrialization of Africa should start from using its commodities to make industrial products for its own people.
She observed that China plays a big role in developing industrialization capacity of African countries, as a lot of Chinese private companies have come to Africa to build industrial parks.
In the past few years, Chinese companies, many from the private sector, have built many industrial parks in countries like Ethiopia, Rwanda, Nigeria, creating jobs and transferring technical know-how and management expertise, Were said.
For the first time, African countries are gaining a first-hand understanding of how an industrial development model looks like through the industrial parks China has been constructing, she said.
Were said she likes the way China does business with Africa.
"China takes Africa much more seriously. It sees Africa as a serious economic partner, and there is money to be made through this partnership," she said.
Were said indigenous companies must learn how to tap into the massive market the continent will provide in the next 20 to 80 years.