Interview: Afro-Asian summit set to boost South-South cooperation: AU official
ADDIS ABABA, April 25 (Xinhua) -- The Asian-African Conference is an opportunity for the two continents to share experiences and to strengthen South-South cooperation, a senior African Union (AU) official told Xinhua.
Marking the 60th anniversary of the Bandung Conference of Asian and African countries, Indonesia hosted the summit this week under the theme, "Strengthening South-South Cooperation to Promote World Peace and Prosperity."
In an exclusive interview with Xinhua in connection with the summit in Indonesia, Rene N'Guettia Kouassi, AU Director for Economic Affairs, said on Saturday the conference is an opportunity for the two continents to share experiences and to strengthen South-South cooperation, a tool towards accelerating their economic development.
The Bandung Conference is a platform whereby Africa and Asia have laid a foundation stone for their cooperation on development and struggle against colonialism, said Kouassi.
"You see, most of them (African countries) were under colonization. This Bandung conference put in place like starting block to develop their (Asia-Africa) cooperation and to put in place strategies to free many countries from colonialism, and to struggle against neocolonialism."
With the conference this time, Africa and Asia share their experiences on development and also on ways of further strengthening South-South cooperation to address common challenges of their economic development.
The conference provides an opportunity for discussion on how to address common challenges of the time, and for Africa, especially to learn better experience from Asia in terms of development, said the director.
"Now, there is no colonialism but neocolonialism is not far. Colonialism is finished but now we talk about neocolonialism. Now, you know to face the challenges of social development, you need to cooperate and Africa can learn better from Asian expertise, Asian experience," noted Kouassi.
"Starting from Bandung conference, we talk about and you know to face the challenges of globalization and so on; there is a need that we strengthen south-south cooperation; South-South cooperation because we have many things to share among us," said the director.
"And we can share exchanges of view on our difficulties, share views on our economic policies, social policies, share a view on our integration process and it is an opportunity for the two continents to learn experiences and to strengthen the South-South cooperation which is seen as a tool for the two continents to accelerate their economic developments," he stated.
Asked about future possibility that Africa hosts the conference, Kouassi said, "This depends on the organizers; because Bandung has. .history; so, may be hosting the conference there, you know, it has become like the name of Bandung has been attached to this event."
"So, I think it is up to the organizers to alternate, to make rotation; but I think, why not?" he said.
The more important thing is not the place of the event, but it is the issue raised at the conference, added Kouassi.