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The Link of China’s One Belt One Road Strategy with Growth in Africa
The Link of China’s One Belt One Road Strategy with Growth in Africa

By - Jamel Lahiani

Posted - 25-07-2019

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a global development strategy adopted by the Chinese government concerned with infrastructure development and investments in 152 countries and international organizations. The concept of a new “Silk Road” connecting China with the rest of Asia, Europe and Africa was first presented by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013. The “belt” refers to overland trade routes throughout Central Asia, while the “road” actually alludes to sea lanes connecting Southeast Asia with Africa and Europe. It is called also the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

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The project has a targeted completion date of 2049 which coincides with the 100th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China. It aims to enhance regional connectivity and embrace a brighter future”. Some observers see it as a push for Chinese dominance in global cjaffairs linked to China geopolitical and economic ambitions.

There are many theoretical channels that link infrastructure’s projects with economic growth. In fact, the investment enforces rapidity and connectivity between countries. That means more exchange of good and services between countries and more investments mobility.
So, the Belt and Road Initiative could have a positive impact to the trade of good and services because exchange of good and services between countries will be easy. This can have a positive impact to the economic growth.

The project could also have a positive impact for the participant’s countries though the transfer of technologies and experiences. Participant’s countries can have more advanced technologies and experiences that have a positive impact to the productivity and then the economics growth.

On the other side, the flow of investment could lead to more jobs and demand of good and services. This can have a positive impact to the economics growth though Keynesian growth channels.

The China-Africa relations is hailed as being a win-win cooperation and have a high expectations as the two trading partners indulge in the over US$1 trillion in investment projects under the BRI.

The three mean infrastructure projects in Africa are:

  • The 472km Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway. It opened in May 2017 and can accommodate one million passengers and 20 million tons of cargo per year.
  • The 759km Addis-Djibouti railway, it was operational in January 2018. It connects Ethiopia to the maritime trade routes of the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea.
  • In Uganda, 51km Kampala-Entebbe Expressway, linking Kampala city and the Entebbe International Airport.

The others major projects under the Belt and Road Initiatives are related to: the recuperation of a national road in northern Madagascar with a package of 155 million U.S dollars. Namibia, Botswana, Tanzania, Nigeria, Cameroon and a number of African countries have also benefited from the EBRI strategy. The improving of maritime trade related to the Abidjan port in Ivory Coast that will accommodate ships carrying ten thousand (10.000) containers.

At least 37 African nations have inked agreements with the Chinese government under the BRI. These flows of investment can lead more jobs and demand of good and services and strengthen the growth in Africa countries.

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The China Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a good occasion for Africa to have more trade partners, investments and diversified international relations. This would have a significant positive impact to Africans countries economics growth.


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