YAOUNDE, Nov. 2 (Xinhua) -- China is a "credible and serious" partner of African countries as they endeavor to overcome an electricity deficit and boost economic development, said Guinea's minister of energy and water Cheick Taliby Sylla.
In an exclusive interview with Xinhua during his recent stay in Yaounde, capital of Cameroon, the minister said the China-proposed Global Energy Interconnection (GEI) initiative can help overcome Africa's electricity deficit and boost development in the continent as one.
Proposed by China in 2015, GEI is a globally interconnected strong and smart grid with ultra-high voltage (UHV) grid as the backbone, which will serve as a platform for extensive development, deployment and utilization of clean energy worldwide.
"When we talk about electricity, we are talking about development, improvement of people's living conditions," said Sylla.
Sylla noted that "many Africans do not have access to electricity, especially those living in rural areas."
Africa needs to "electrify to its last part to have emancipation," Sylla said, hailing China as a "great nation" that is assisting Africa with durable solutions in development.
"China is now teaching Africa how to develop, how to enhance growth... and giving its financial support," Sylla said.
"Some believe China is putting Africa into debt which is prejudicial for Africa. I think all our African authorities are unanimous that China on the contrary is helping African countries to build infrastructures that are indispensable to their economic take-off, creating better lives for African people," Sylla said.
In September, the Guinean government signed a partnership agreement with China's Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization (GEIDCO) to jointly implement the GEI initiative in Africa.
"It's a futuristic vision, very ambitious, that must be taken very seriously if we want energy to be for everyone," Sylla said.
According to Sylla, the China-Guinea deal is a first step in Africa to a "monumental" project that is undergoing scrutiny by other African countries.
"It is important to think about this so that in the long-run, Africa as one can be interconnected in terms of energy and other infrastructures," Sylla said, adding that African countries could then accelerate industrialization and "exploit their resources domestically to keep the added value staying in the country."