Authorities of Shenzhen want to establish people-to-people exchanges through business and social services.
Just like the Chinese central government seeks improved, comprehensive ties with Cameroon, so also are the country’s local governments. In a recent chat with 27 African journalists in Shenzhen in China’s Guangdong Province, Tan Fuying, the Deputy Director General of the Shenzhen Foreign Affairs Office, said the metropolis maintains city-to-city relations with 84 cities in 58 countries. For now, there are sister city ties only with Lomé in Togo and Luxor in Egypt. Friendly exchanges also exist between Shenzhen and Kigali in Rwanda, Mindelo in Cape Verde, Cape Town in South Africa, Accra in Ghana and Port Louis in Mauritius.
“We want to establish people-to-people exchanges with Cameroonian towns and cities in education, medical services, etc, with the hope that such relations will eventually enable Shenzhen firms to boost bilateral ties. For example, a Shenzhen-based firm is undertaking a major electricity project in Ghana that will provide about 45 per cent of the country’s total power needs,” Tan Fuying disclosed. She said partners in city-to-city relations must be involved in similar economic activities. Fuying promised that Shenzhen city officials were ready to arrange experience-sharing sessions with foreign guests.
Meanwhile, there are a number of Africans in Shenzhen involved in business, research, starting their own companies and in many other areas, the senior city official said. Shenzhen is a migrant metropolis made up of people from over 50 Chinese ethnic groups. With a population of over 10 million and more than 20 million in the entire Shenzhen Special Economic Zone, the city was only a poor rural fishing settlement 36 years ago. In 2016, Shenzhen collected 700 Billion Yuan Renminbi (about 62,145.2 Billion FCFA) in revenue and had a budget of over 300 Billion Yuan Renminbi (about 26,648.3 Billion FCFA).
With challenges like rising cost of housing and overstretched health facilities, Shenzhen’s authorities are inviting famous hospitals and medical doctors to address the problem, Fuying said. Similarly, there are insufficient educational resources and facilities, with only eight higher institutions in the city. To bridge the gap, both Chinese and foreigners are encouraged to set up universities and colleges in Shenzhen. On its part, city authorities are building more basic schools, Tan Fuying disclosed.