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New Maritime Silk Road to boost ties with Africa

By Frannie A. Leautier Michael Schaefer and Wei Shen | China Daily | Updated: 2015-12-03 07:54

China has always regarded Africa as a place of opportunity rather than a source of problems. It has courted African governments as political allies since the foundation of the People's Republic. Unlike the West whose aid was centered on technical and financial assistance, China uses a different approach.

China has been eager to use infrastructure projects to facilitate connectivity between the landlocked countries and coastal areas in Africa, with the aim of fostering the same kind of local and regional economic development that China has seen since the 1980s. And now that its economic growth has slowed, China needs to seek new overseas markets and consumers. With its foreign exchange reserves of $3.65 trillion, China has led the establishment of a number of financial institutions such as the Silk Road Fund, the BRICS New Development Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to finance these infrastructure projects.

China's focus on the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road for infrastructure development is also a response to its severe overcapacity in the construction and manufacturing sectors. According to the State Council, China's Cabinet, Africa is already China's second-largest overseas construction site. Under the new Maritime Silk Road project, China will leverage its comparative advantage in construction and material surplus, and allow more State-owned enterprises to go global.

New Maritime Silk Road to boost ties with Africa

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