BRI’s fate in Africa


The broad strategy of belt and road initiative is visions and Actions on Jointly Building Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. There are a large number of BRI projects already being executed in the continent of Africa. In 2014 alone China invested £56 billion in African infrastructure. These projects financed by China include building of ports, roads and railways all across Africa. One of the notable projects is the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) project in Kenya. This connects Mombasa port with Nairobi and will eventually extend to other landlocked countries in East Africa such as Uganda, South Sudan, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Previously in order to execute several projects African countries used to look towards traditional donors, such as the USA, France and the UK or multilateral institutions (the World Bank and the IMF) for addressing the huge infrastructure gap. China’s collaboration with African countries through belt and road initiative will certainly increase the development prospective of the continent. There are several infrastructural projects under this initiative. When it comes to railway projects across Africa, the first fully electrified cross border railway line in Africa has been completed linking Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa to the Red Sea port of Djibouti. This project was 70 percent financed by China’s Exim Bank as well as built by China Railway Group and China Civil Engineering Construction. Similarly, Kenya’s 845 kilo meter Mombasa to Nairobi railway line was formally completed in 2017, with a concessionary loan from China’s Exim Bank funding 80 percent of the costs (estimated at over US$3 billion). The project was constructed by China Rail and Bridge Corporation, with China’s national news agency, Xinhua, declaring the project as an early result of the Belt and Road Initiative that will hasten regional growth through cross-border trade, skills transfer and industrialization. Other projects announced in connection with BRI include a number of private Chinese companies’ foreign expansion and joint venture plans in Africa.

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