by: Mr. Khalid Taimur Akram, Executive Director, Pakistan Research Center for a Community with Shared Future (PRCCSF), Islamabad.
China-Africa Collaboration through Belt and Road Initiative: A Catalyst for Comprehensive Development: The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) serves as a vital platform fostering collaboration and robust cooperation between China and African nations. With a shared commitment to connectivity, economic cooperation, and shared prosperity, the BRI has made significant contributions to Africa’s development across various sectors.
Cooperation and Shared Values: China’s dedication to the BRI is evident through 52 cooperation agreements with African nations and the African Union Commission. This commitment translates into extensive investments and infrastructure growth in crucial sectors like ports, railways, and roads. The BRI inspires aspirations for future opportunities among Africans, emphasizing an open and inclusive global economy.
Advocating a cooperative approach, China envisions inclusive development, rejecting unilateralism and protectionism. This aligns with the BRI’s goal of an open world economy, fostering a comprehensive strategic cooperative relationship with Africa based on mutual trust and support.
Development and Sustainable Growth: The BRI actively addresses African economic development through substantial Chinese investments, focusing on key drivers like infrastructure development. Collaboration with Chinese partners facilitates knowledge transfer and technology exchange, reinforcing the sustainability of these initiatives.
China’s direct investment in Africa surpassed $56 billion by the end of 2020, concentrating on industrial parks and factories. This strategic investment empowers African nations to establish diverse industrial prototypes, boosting export earnings. Extensive infrastructure development includes railways, roads, ports, power facilities, hospitals, and schools across the continent.
Trade and Economic Integration: The BRI has played a pivotal role in supporting Africa’s development and integration into global economies, maintaining China as Africa’s top trading partner for 13 consecutive years. In 2022, China-Africa trade volume reached $282 billion, marking an 11.1% increase.
China’s commitment to increase trade to $300 billion by 2025 is evident in enacted policies covering various products. Collaborations like the $15.6 billion projects with the Suez Canal Economic Zone exemplify the BRI’s impact on Africa’s economic landscape.
Africa’s Economic Diversification and Future Prospects: The BRI is lifting Africa out of poverty, creating opportunities, and catalyzing comprehensive development, economic growth, and enhanced connectivity. It serves as a bridge linking economic hubs and establishing trading routes, boosting sectors like textiles and minerals.
China’s unwavering position, with over 1,100 ongoing cooperation projects, underscores its commitment to Africa’s economic recovery. Collaboration in new areas like aerospace and clean energy amplifies the depth and breadth of China-Africa cooperation.
The collaboration between China and African nations under the BRI has established diverse economic zones, showcasing the initiative’s adaptability to different needs. Notable examples include the Suez Canal Economic Zone in Egypt and the Lekki Free Trade Zone in Nigeria.
Digital Cooperation and Future Prospects: China’s commitment to expanding export markets in Africa, particularly in renewable energy technologies and infrastructure, presents massive opportunities. Digital cooperation under the BRI includes agreements with more than ten African countries, focusing on areas like new-generation mobile communication, cloud computing, big data, and artificial intelligence.
In conclusion, the Belt and Road Initiative stands as a transformative force in China-Africa relations, fostering comprehensive development and shared prosperity. It represents a commitment to building an inclusive world economy where the benefits of globalization are shared equitably. The BRI’s impact transcends economic collaboration, symbolizing a shared future rooted in mutual respect, understanding, and sustainable development.