Trade and Industry

Tuesday, 16 March 2021

How can China's BRI support developmental regionalism in Africa?

  • Year: 2020
  • Organisation: TIPS
  • Author(s): Faizel Ismail
  • Countries and Regions: Africa

China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and its role in Africa is controversial. This paper argues that African countries should work through regional organisations, such as the African Union (AU) and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to use their agency and negotiate with China to advance their own interests. The experiences of China in building regional corridors and supporting regional value chains and connectivity in Southeast Asia can provide valuable lessons for both Africa and China on how the BRI can contribute positively to developmental regionalism* in Africa.

* Developmental regionalism is defined as “cooperation among countries in a broader range of areas than just trade and trade facilitation, to include – for example – investment, research and development, as well as policies aimed at accelerating regional industrial development and regional infrastructure provision, such as the building of better networks of roads and railway” – UNCTAD.