African countries should support China’s Belt and Road Initiative considering the immense benefits it will avail, a development expert said on Monday.
Haggai Kanenga with the School of Development Studies at the University of Zambia (UNZA) gave the advice in an interview with the press.
“Although I know that not all African countries will directly benefit from this initiative, I think Africa will do well to support it because of the spill-over effects that are expected to come with this project,” he said.
Africa, he said, should support the initiative as it will complement the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063 aspiration, which has a component of unlocking infrastructure on the economic in order to spur development.
The Belt and Road Initiative, proposed by China in 2013, aims to revive the ancient trade routes that span Asia, Africa and Europe and promote economic engagement and investment along the routes.
The initiative, he added, came at a time when Africa was trying to promote economic integration, adding that African countries should take advantage of this.
According to him, Africa should also take advantage of China’s vast experience in infrastructure development.
“This initiative came as Africa tries to improve infrastructure after realizing that without infrastructure, no meaningful development will be realised,’’ he said.
He however called on all stakeholders to ensure that risks associated with the problem are handled to ensure its smooth implementation.
According to him, a huge project like this was likely to have asszociated risks due to the huge number of regions involved and he urged China to take advantage of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation to consult with other stakeholders on how to minimize the risks.