Sincere China-Africa cooperation vital to successes of BRI

Source:Chinese Social Sciences Today 2023-09-01

The year 2023 marks the 10th anniversary of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s proposal of the principle of sincerity, real results, affinity, and good faith toward Africa, along with the principle of pursuing the greater good and shared interests. Over the past decade, under the guidance of Chinese and African leaders and top-level design, China and Africa have achieved remarkable results through deepening cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), setting an example for high-quality BRI development. In a recent interview with CSST, Sande Ngalande, director of the Belt and Road Joint Research Center at the University of Zambia, shed light on achievements made by China and African countries within the BRI framework and reasons for the successes.

“The BRI presents as the single most important initiative on planet earth that has impacted millions of lives from all walks of life,” Ngalande said. One of the key achievements of the BRI is the substantial infrastructure development it has facilitated. Projects such as ports, railways, roads, and power plants have been constructed in various participating countries, improving transportation networks and promoting trade.

For example, the Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway in Kenya, completed in May 2017, connects the port city of Mombasa to the capital city of Nairobi. The railway is not only the flagship project of BRI cooperation between China and Kenya, but also the largest infrastructure project in Kenya since its independence. Ngalande noted that it has significantly improved transportation efficiency and reduced logistics costs, benefiting Kenya’s economy. Completed with Chinese investment and technical expertise, the project has created lots of job opportunities for locals and stimulated economic growth.

The Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway connecting the landlocked country of Ethiopia to the port of Djibouti, which began commercial operation in January 2018, is also a landmark project of the BRI. “It has greatly improved Ethiopia’s access to international markets and facilitated trade. Chinese involvement in this project has enhanced regional connectivity and supported Djibouti’s ambition to become a major logistics hub,” Ngalande said.

He also pointed out that the BRI has contributed to the development of industrial parks in Ethiopia, such as the Eastern Industrial Zone and the Hawassa Industrial Park. These parks have attracted Chinese and international investors, promoting industrialization, job creation, and technology transfer. They have also stimulated export-oriented manufacturing, particularly in the textile and garment sector.

“These infrastructure investments have not only boosted economic growth but also facilitated people-to-people exchanges and cultural integration,” Ngalande said. The BRI has increased connectivity between Africa and other continents like Asia and played a vital role in fostering Africa’s own internal development and integration.

By promoting infrastructure development, trade facilitation, and people-to-people exchanges, the BRI has contributed to Africa’s efforts in opening up its own markets, improving regional connectivity, and enhancing intra-African cooperation, Ngalande added. It has helped unlock Africa’s economic potential and strengthen its position as a key player in the global economy.

Ngalande ascribed the achievements of the BRI over the past 10 years to close China-Africa cooperation based on sincerity, real results, affinity, and good faith. Africa has generally shown a level of trust in China’s intentions, largely due to China’s history of providing significant investments to the continent. This trust is deeply rooted in historical instances, such as the construction of the TAZARA Railway, which took place in the early years after New China was founded. The completion of the TAZARA Railway project showcased China’s generosity and solidified Africans’ unwavering belief in the goodwill of the Chinese people, Ngalande said.

Editor:Yu Hui

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