An international business expert urged African countries here on Thursday to take advantage of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative for their own development.
In an interview with Xinhua during the One Day Ghana-Nigeria investment conference David Ofosu-Darte, Senior Partner in AB & David, legal advisors for Business and Projects in Africa, asserted that the continent should tap into funding from China based on this initiative to develop its own infrastructure to enhance intra-continental trade.
Proposed by China in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. It is aimed at achieving policy, infrastructure, trade, financial and people-to-people connectivity, building a new platform for international cooperation, and creating new drivers of shared development to benefit more countries and people.
“It impacts on Africa because currently China-Africa Trade has grown from 10 billion dollars (in 2000) to 239 billion dollars (currently), so China has become Africa’s largest trading partner,” Ofosu-Dorte said.
“What is important to me is how African countries strategize to leverage on the Belt and Road Initiative,” he said.
“Opportunities exist for Africa to secure Chinese financing for its infrastructure development to aid intra-continental trade,” he added.
Ofosu-Dorte was confident that with this kind of partnership African countries could attract such funding to add value to their natural resources and produce commodities which could be exported to China on value added basis.
However, in negotiating with China or any other world power, Ofosu-Dorte urged that with the signing of the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) agreement by a number of African countries, time was ripe for Africa to begin negotiations as a bloc.