Belt And Road Adds New Momentum To China-Africa Cooperation
Sumaira FH 3 years ago Wed 25th July 2018 | 01:32 PM
From the Horn of Africa all the way south to the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa, is an extensive stretch of thousands of kilometers of the West Indian Ocean coastline.
NAIROBI, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 25th Jul, 2018 ) :From the Horn of Africa all the way south to the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa, is an extensive stretch of thousands of kilometers of the West Indian Ocean coastline.
Historically, the famous Chinese navigator Zheng He during the Ming Dynasty, had led trade envoys and reportedly reached the eastern and southern Africa coastal region four times, sowing the initial seeds for China-Africa friendship, and carving out an ancient maritime silk road trade route.
More than 600 years have passed since those first voyages. This region now boasts some of Africa's fastest growing economies, which seek to boost regional integration with better infrastructure through cooperation under the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative.
The China-Africa cooperative projects such as the electrified railway connecting landlocked Ethiopia with Djibouti, the Mombasa-Nairobi standard gauge railway in Kenya, the Maputo Cross-sea Bridge in Mozambique and various industrial zones established in recent years, have been a reflection of the successful cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative.
Proposed by China in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, which aims at building a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient trade routes of the Silk Road.
An open and inclusive platform for economic cooperation between nations and governments, the initiative has helped change people's lives.
"Actually, I have always had this dream of owning a house in Addis Ababa," he said.
Because of his driving skill and extensive knowledge of the city, he was employed six years ago by the China Railway Group (CREC), one of the contractors of the Ethiopia-Djibouti railway.
"Tesfay was just the kind of guy we needed when we first arrived in Addis Ababa years ago, when streets in the city barely had Names and houses did not have doorplate numbers. He was a walking map of the city," said Yuan Qiang, an expert with CREC No.2 Group at the project for operation and maintenance.
"The price of the house has now even gone up quite a lot, which equals to many years of my salary," said Tesfay.
The Nairobi-Mombasa railway project has created nearly 50,000 jobs for locals, and trained more than 5,000 technicians since construction began in late 2014. The Maputo Cross-Sea Bridge, due to be launched soon, has also created over 20,000 jobs for the locals, both full-time and part-time, since the project commenced in June 2014, data from the China Road and Bridge Corporation showed.
As the Belt and Road Initiative seeks to promote connectivity among nations, more African countries are eager to know how they could benefit from it as they strive to promote regional integration through upgrading roads, ports, railways and telecommunication networks.
Gerishon Ikiara, an international economics lecturer at the University of Nairobi, said that the China-proposed initiative and the BRICS Development Bank have enriched cooperation among countries and regions, and have been important engines for global economic growth.
The Maritime Silk Road connects east Africa with Asia and Europe, and the extension of standard gauge railways in east Africa will greatly improve the region's transport and reduce trade costs, he said.
"The construction of the projects under the initiative will bring unprecedented new opportunities for China-Africa cooperation," he said.
This year marks the fifth anniversary since the Belt and Road Initiative was first put forward in 2013.
Over the years, after some nations in East Africa have taken their first steps to boost domestic development under the initiative, countries in West Africa, including Nigeria, Mauritania, and Cote d'Ivoire have expressed interest in joining in the Belt and Road construction.
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa said earlier this year that Zimbabwe will fully participate in the initiative for the benefit of its economy.
"The Belt and Road Initiative is indeed a vision for the future," Mnangagwa said.
Tanzania's Minister of Foreign Affairs Augustine Mahiga told Xinhua that the philosophy of the Belt and Road Initiative is to open economic opportunities, to give the countries worldwide better access to resources, technology, and to have closer connectivity.