Stronger cultural connections
The impressive growth of Guangdong-Africa trade and economic cooperation has acted as a catalyst for cultural integration, the both reinforcing each other.
Before coming to Guangzhou, Aly spent almost a year and a half in Wuhan, where he met a Chinese mom who treated him like a member of her own family.
“She introduced Chinese culture to me by taking me attend Chinese weddings and funerals.” It was then that Aly developed a great interest in Chinese culture and thought Mali’s culture was not so far different from that in China.
After studying Chinese in Wuhan, Aly came to Guangzhou and majored in business at Jinan University, where he got a deeper understanding of Chinese business culture and finally overcame the language barrier.
“Now, when going to the market, I want to make friends with the local suppliers. I’ve learned some phrases that make them smile.” Idioms such as ‘一分钱一分货 (you get what you pay for)’ have become his pet phrases.
The song "One for all and all for one"
Tabou, a Senegal singer is also fascinated by Chinese culture. “My mom, a businesswoman engaged in China-Africa trading, used to live here. She was the one who first invited me to come here 4 years ago.”
Now she has many Chinese friends and she has a Chinese name, Feifei. One of Tabou’s dreams is to have a chance to work with Chinese people more often, like working with Chinese producers, making an album together with Chinese artists if possible. She has tried to blend African music with Chinese and Cantonese culture and turn her experience in the city into a song.
In August this year, Tabou wrote and performed the song ‘One for all and all for one’ collaborating with Newsgd.com and Nanfang Daily to express her best wishes for China-Africa friendship.
“(Living) in Guangzhou, I have witnessed many people from my hometown come here for business and study. And I knew many people from Guangdong in Senegal as well. In future, my dreams include working in a movie that talks about Africans living in Guangzhou.”
This April, Tracy Huo initiated the first China-Africa Economic and Cultural Week in Guangzhou. By immersing themselves in a wide variety of activities including photography exhibitions, movie screenings, reading clubs and forums, Cantonese people were able to get a better understanding of Africa.
According to Huo, high priority should be given to cross-cultural talent cultivation and “based on this, AGBA has founded a commercial school in Africa and designed a core curriculum, in order to build a talent pool out there.”
Suggestions for China-Africa mutual prosperity
In accordance with figures released by Department of Commerce of Guangdong Province, in early 2017, Cantonese enterprises set up 29 branches in Africa and the number had increased to 244 by the end of last year. There are 10 African Consulates General in Guangzhou, outnumbering other Chinese cities in this regard.
Wale Oloko, Consul General of Nigeria in Guangzhou [Photo/Steven, Newsgd.com]
In terms of better investment in Africa, Wale Oloko, Consul General of Nigeria in Guangzhou, offers two pieces of advices to Guangdong investors:
1.Understand the African environment and understand the culture of people there, the investment laws, and how to enter an equal partnership, which is very very important.
2.It’s also key to understand the political system of the respective country, whether it’s democracy or governorship. It’s obviously better to not get involved in the internal political affairs of the country in question.
Please turn to the next page to read the Chinese version of the article
Author | Keane Wong, Hu Liangguang, Huang Xuhao, December Yu
Editor | Simon Haywood
Chief Editor | Wing Zhang, Wang Huiyun
Photo | Steven Yuen