China Establishes Its First Political Party School in Africa

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The first Political Party School in Tanzania, East Africa, has been constructed by the Chinese government. Students from six African nations have been accepted for the program’s initial cohort. Since their nations’ independence, each of the participating political bodies has consistently held the position of leader of the nation they represent. News agencies report that one hundred and twenty cadres from African governing parties are participating in the session that is taking place at the facility in Tanzania that cost forty million dollars US and was financed by the Chinese Communist Party.

The Mwalimu Julius Nyerere Leadership School in Kibaha, Tanzania, 40 kilometers outside of Dar es Salaam, was built using funds provided by the six leading parties in southern African nations. The bureaucracy responsible for advancing Chinese ideology and inter-party diplomacy in Beijing, the International Liaison Department, provided extra funding.

The school serves as a venue for China to engage in “party-to-party” diplomacy with other countries. Julius Nyerere, the country’s first president, was heavily inspired by Maoism and the Communist Party in the 1960s and 1970s.

It has become more commonplace to see China’s influence in Africa coupled with massive infrastructure projects like the Belt and Road Initiative, yet echoes of Chinese socialism can still be heard in Tanzania and many other African nations.

South African, Mozambican, Angolan, Namibian, and Zimbabwean political parties are still interested in learning from China’s governance and economic model. No African nation has fully embraced the Chinese “model,” but most admire certain components, such as a single-party state or state-led growth, observers say.

In recent years, the party has stepped up its efforts to strengthen political relationships with African governing parties, bringing hundreds of their leaders each year on “study tours” to China. Although some meetings continued to be conducted online, this strategy was used from the 1990s, when Beijing started actively pushing the “Chinese form of governance” across Africa, until Covid-19 put a halt to any gathering that may further spread the virus.

During a virtual speech to the Southern Africa Youth Cadres workshop, Song Tao, the Central Committee’s then-head of the International Department, highlighted the long-term friendship and common ideals between the two parties.  “In the face of the changes and the pandemic, both unseen in a century, the CPC is ready to strengthen experience exchange in state governance and administration with the six parties,” said Song, who has since been replaced by Liu Jianchao, a veteran diplomat.

In a recent paper released by the French National Centre for Scientific Research, research fellow Jean-Pierre Cabestan noted that “the CPC has focused on ruling rather than opposition parties or countries that matter to the Chinese economy” in Africa in a recent paper.

According to the South China Morning Post, Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is also the party’s general secretary, responded to a letter from workshop attendees with the desire that they “take an active part in the cause of the China-Africa friendship, carry forward and pass on the spirit of China-Africa friendship and cooperation.”

According to a white paper released by Beijing at the conclusion of the 8th Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Dakar, Senegal, the Chinese Communist Party has established links with 110 political parties in 51 of the 54 nations.