Saturday, July 8, 2017

Africa and China's Maritime Silk Road

China published on 20 June 2017 its most detailed explanation so far of the Maritime Silk Road titled "Vision for Maritime Cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative."

The purpose of the document is to synchronize development plans and promote joint actions among countries along the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. A key component as concerns Africa is the building of the China-Indian Ocean-Africa-Mediterranean Sea Blue Economic Passage. As for projects being implemented in Africa, the document cites the railway linking Addis Ababa and Djibouti, the railway between Mombasa and Nairobi, and the Suez Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone in Egypt. Interestingly, there is no mention of China's new military facility in Djibouti.

The document stresses development projects, infrastructure construction, marine ecoesystems, climate change, anti-poverty programs, maritime security, economic growth, and mechanisms for collaboration in creating the blue economy. Nearly all of these initiatives have been on-going components of China's policies in Africa and the specific projects cited for Africa predate the announcement of the Belt and Road Initiative three years ago.

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