Strategic significance of the BRI and its benefits to African countries

THE main purpose of China’s Belt and Road Initiatives ‘‘BRI’’ is to achieve strategic connection, infrastructure interconnectivity, trade expansion, a wider use of local currency, greater cultural acceptance, common development and win-win cooperation.

Those goals provide a new model of cooperation that allows all countries to enjoy common business opportunities, share resources, and work together in order to build a community of shared feelings, benefits and future.

The strategic significance of BRI is to seek a win-win cooperation, to enhance cooperation in diverse sectors, including agriculture, chemical industry, energy, transport, communication, finance, science, technology and to excavate the economic potential of countries at various stages of development and endowed with different resources and to promote common development and prosperity for all participating countries.

The initiative really shows China’s determination of taking the path of peaceful development. This path is a sincere gesture to achieve a common development of all countries involved so that they can share the dividends of China’s development.

China’s BRI is guided by the silk and road spirit of peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit and a new type of international relations, entirely different from other super powers’ mentality that seek global dominance.

Although BRI was proposed by China, it does not serve only China’s interests, rather it is a broad idea that is open to all countries and which seeks cooperation from among all countries.

The full implementation of BRI will help to address and even alleviate traditional and non traditional security issues in Africa and other regions to create a safer environment for cooperation.

In addition, the active implementation of the BRI will help to ease the imbalance in regional and global economic development, improve investment climate to create a sound environment for economic cooperation. The BRI will help underdeveloped countries catch up in terms of economic development through infrastructure connectivity.

Through BRI, African countries will benefit greatly and are hoping China will continue to shoulder more responsibilities in promoting their development. China’s BRI reflects its desire for a new model of regional and international cooperation that shares the fruits of its success with others. For Africa, BRI is real new hope to overcome the barriers and achieve development for all.

“For example, through developmental infrastructure, some African countries economies are growing at a rate over 5%- 6% plus. In condevelopment of their countries which has come at a time when it was most needed. Thus, they regard China as their true economic partner and developmental saviour.

It is important to note that, the BRI is a global initiative that has the potential to facilitate the achievement of the sustainable development goals. Importantly, it can also fill in the financing gaps and development needs in underinvested countries with loans and investments from China.

Although some Western countries are expressing concerns on the issues of standards and regulations pertaining to transparency, debt sustainability, the environment and society, but these issues are complex and go beyond the BRI.

The fact is that, the Belt and Road Initiative ‘‘BRI’’ has brought significant benefits and aims to address many of the infrastructure problems in Africa. What Africans want from BRI, is the benefits derived from the initiative itself and not the baseless allegations made by western politicians aimed at thwarting the initiative.

Basically, BRI has provided a window of opportunity for infrastructure development that have enhanced connectivity across Africa and boosted intra-African trade.

Since The BRI focuses on the development of large infrastructure projects, many African countries are eager to use this opportunity to reduce their own infrastructure gap. It should be noted that, many of the BRI projects have been successful in most parts of Africa. For-example; BRI transportation connectivity has boosted trade and foreign direct investment, increased industrialisation and economic growth.

Apart from that BRI Infrastructure has helped to reduce travel times and trade costs. Generally, China’s contributions to African countries’ development have become a central aspect of those countries’ development strategy.

Unlike the Western, many of China’s infrastructure projects in Africa address a desperate need for roads, railways, ports, energy, telecommunication etc. In order for Tanzania not to be left behind and to be able to benefit from this China’s BRI programme the government of Samia Suluhu should indeed review and address the problems that prevented the start of the Bagamoyo Port construction project.

The construction of Bagamoyo Port will increase investments, boost the economy, generate more jobs and increase tax revenue in the country.

In addition to that, the project will not only benefit Tanzania but also neighbouring countries that will use it as destination of their cargo. BRI is very important to Africa because it will help narrow the infrastructure gap and contribute to the development and growth of the economies of all the countries involved. In addition to that, BRI will contribute significantly to achieving their AU Agenda 2063 goals.

• George is a Dar es Salaam-based analyst on international politics and foreign relations Mobile: +255754699102

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