BRI Gains For Africa As Senegal And Rwanda Subscribes To BRI

During his Africa visit in July 2018, President Xi Jinping also signed an agreement on BRI with Senegal and Rwanda. Senegal became the first country on Africa’s west coast to sign an official cooperation document on the BRI. The BRI in Africa has focused more on Eastern African countries because of the linkage with the Maritime Silk Road stretching from East Asia westward through the Indian Ocean (with Kenya being the hub) and North Africa (with Egypt being the Hub). It was a consolidation of Senegal’s relationship with China, in which the infrastructural development (transportation facilities) of Senegal is to be incorporated into the BRI. A major feature of the Chinese proposition is that the BRI will spur infrastructural development in less developed countries and emerging economies. For instance, in eastern Africa, China had engaged in helping African countries build a large network of rail lines thereby enhancing regional trade and reducing the cost of transporting goods. Although, the Chinese relationship with African countries has been found to result in debt overhang for a number of African countries, even as Xi pledged an additional US$60 billion loan facilities to African countries to spur Africa development.

The BRI provides a platform for African countries to integrate into to global market, and reduce the cost of transportation. This will help spur Africa export, as it will expand market access for African countries as BRI aims to reduce trade barriers among countries and foster global trade. This will help African countries grow their economy and promote development and thus reduce the prevalence of poverty. However, for full utilization of the potential inherent in BRI, African countries must be strategic and deliberate in taking full advantage of the initiative for their benefit.

Senegal president, Macky Sall with President Xi
President Xi with Rwanda President, Paul Kagame Source: qz and Alamy

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