BRI resources inject fresh impetus for China-Africa cooperation
Published: Jun 25, 2019 05:13 PM

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi addresses a gathering at the Coordinators' Meeting on the Implementation of the Follow-up Actions of the Beijing Summit of the Forum on the China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) on Tuesday. Photo: Chu Daye/GT

Beijing will tilt more resources under the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) toward Africa, China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi told a gathering of African dignitaries and ministers in Beijing on Tuesday. 

Wang made the remarks at the Coordinators' Meeting on the Implementation of the Follow-up Actions of the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), a ministerial-level meeting attended by 300 delegates from 53 African member countries of FOCAC and the African Union. 

At the Beijing summit of FOCAC in 2018, China pledged to set up a $10 billion development financing fund and encourage Chinese companies to invest no less than $10 billion in Africa over the following three years.

Wang said China and African countries will work together to match the BRI, the eight major initiatives of China-Africa cooperation and the national development plans of individual countries.

The BRI is a massive connectivity program linking China, Europe, Africa and beyond. 

Liang Haiming, chairman of China's Silk Road iValley Research Institute and the dean of the Belt and Road Institute at Hainan University, said that a tilt in BRI resources could mean China would be tapping more of its infrastructure capacity to help the development of African countries. 

"Averagely speaking, if an African country can invest money equal to 1 percent of its GDP, it could generate 1 million jobs," Liang told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, improved infrastructure could benefit Chinese businessmen who are entering Africa in increasing numbers.

BRI resources are also important for African countries trying to launch big projects amid scarce funding.

In 2018, Nigeria officially joined the BRI. 

"By being part of the BRI, an avenue of financial support has been created to fund the companies that are going to undertake the Mambila hydropower project," Nigerian Ambassador to China Baba Ahmad Jidda told the Global Times on Monday.

The Mambila hydropower plant, which will be a transformational project for Africa's largest economy, has been in the planning stage for decades, but was unable to kick off previously.

Jidda also said that Chinese-built infrastructure projects from railways and roads to extensions of airports and city rail systems have "linked up the regions in West Africa."

Liang noted that infrastructure also includes digital infrastructure including the mobile internet and even 5G.