BRI with Africa for ten years

By Mehmood Ul Hassan Khan | Gwadar Pro Jun 10, 2023

Editor's Note: The author is Executive Director of the Center for South Asia & International Studies (CSAIS) Islamabad and Regional Expert on China, BRI & CPEC. The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily the views of Gwadar Pro.

It seems that two different forces are competing in today’s African continent. China represents spirits of cooperation, coordination and collaboration whereas, the West stands for conflict, contradiction and conspiracy. 

The BRI has entered into its tenth year and has become an important engine of development and regional connectivity around the world especially in African continent. More than 150 countries have joined the BRI which is good omen for immense socio-economic integration, infrastructure development and regional connectivity. According to Chinese official figures, China has been Africa's largest trading partner for 13 consecutive years since 2009, and the trade volume between China and Africa exceeded $260 billion in 2022.

It seems that the BRI has positive economic implications for developing countries of the African Continent. Moreover, a total of 52 African countries and the African Union Commission have signed BRI cooperation documents with China.

Despite false, fake and fictional western propaganda, BRI is now carrying out numerous mega projects of infrastructural development, railways, energy, industrialization and ICT in various countries of Africa.

Unfortunately, even today, colonialism is still deeply rooted in Western mentality regarding Africa, with their eyes fixated on the Continent’s natural resources and raw material. The growth of African countries and the livelihood of African people have never been on the priority list of the hypocritical western powers.

Now there is an all-around competition between the Chinese concept of community with shared future, global development initiative, global security initiative and last but not least global civilizational initiative and the US and EU’s perpetual colonialization, Chinese constant and continued economic generosity and the western chronic genocides and discrimination towards African Blacks.

China and African countries have been witnessing close trust cooperation, political consultation and economic coordination during last ten years.  The end of last month, Special Envoy of Chinese President Xi Jinping and Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress Peng Qinghua attended Nigerian President Bola Tinubu's inauguration ceremony which vividly reflected true spirits of trust, harmony and respect between two sides.

Even respective political leaders and foreign ministers from a number of African countries, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Sierra Leone visited Beijing which has successfully translated political cooperation into sustainable cooperation in the diverse economic sectors.

Keeping in view, emerging socio-economic, geopolitical and geostrategic rapidly changing trends, China and Africa should jointly work for solidarity and cooperation

Chinese construction giant, China Railway Construction Corp (CRCC) has built highways stretching across Algeria. They have also built residential zones in various regional countries enabling the local resident’s affordable and qualitative housing facilities.

Critical analysis of the BRI presence in Africa demonstrates rigorous socio-economic transformation converting the continent sands into tall skylines, green shorelines and solarized rooflines. According to Chinese official data, China has helped African countries build over 6,000 kilometers of railway, 6,000 kilometers of road, around 20 ports, over 80 large power facilities, and more than 130 hospitals and 170 schools during the last ten years.

Moreover, according to these figures, the Chinese FDIs in Africa had topped $56 billion, most of which was in industrial parks, helping the respective African countries to achieve substantial growth in infrastructure, construction economy, and industrial production.

Moreover, China's small commodities hub and the world's largest small commodities market Yiwu has initiated innovative and unique China-Africa cross-border RMB settlement center to facilitate trade, boost clearing functions and reduce exchange rate costs and risk.

Obviously, many African countries have immense natural resources which would provide the foundation for greater economic, business, trade and investment and deeper industrial cooperation between two sides. Moreover, there are numerous befitting mutual propositions for both sides in the field of agriculture cooperation and food & energy security.

China-Mozambique, bilateral cooperation on rice production has produced promising dividends cooperation which has opened new window of opportunity for both sides and even the private companies.  

Furthermore, many African countries such as Ethiopia and Kenya are major coffee producers and China could bring processing plants to Africa and set up part of the industrial chain under the flagship project of the BRI.

It suggests that China and Africa should jointly work for true multilateralism, bio-diversity and climate change with mutual respect and trust to further modernize their cooperation.

In the recent past, China hosted the 8th Forum on China and Africa Cooperation which led for further cooperation in the “China-Africa Cooperation Vision 2035” and “Dakar Action Plan. Interestingly, BRI has further strengthened China-African countries which good omen for global economy.

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