African countries could reap huge economic, social and ecological benefits from enhanced cooperation with China under the Belt and Road (B&R) initiative, a senior environmental expert has said.
Gianluca Ghiara, the national vice chair of Environment Working Group at the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China said African countries stand to gain from enhanced cooperation with Beijing in areas that advance green and inclusive development as espoused in the Belt and Road initiative.
“I can see great amount of opportunities in terms of cooperation between China and Africa in many areas, we can think about environment, manufacturing, logistics and construction,” Ghiara said.
He spoke to Xinhua recently during the third edition of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA3) that took place in Nairobi from Dec. 4 to 6.
Ghiara said multilateral agencies attaches huge importance to the Belt and Road initiative with the knowledge it is likely to reshape Africa’s green agenda.
“I was invited here in UNEA-3 because of the importance of Belt and Road initiative. We know the UN fully supports this initiative,” said Ghiari, adding that China’s wealth of expertise in ecological protection can be applied in Africa to stimulate green growth.
The Belt and Road initiative championed by China focus on development of new road and maritime trade routes connecting a large swathe of Asia, Middle East, Europe and Africa.
China has financed development of mega infrastructure projects like roads, ports and railways to enhance connectivity with its foreign trading partners under this initiative.
Ghiari said the belt and road initiative which involves 65 countries that have 70 percent of the world’s population is the embodiment of China’s growing diplomatic and economic clout.
“I think the Belt and Road initiative is going to reshape the idea we already know about China being involved in so many areas in so many countries,” said Ghiari.
“In regard to Africa, I think China can bring a lot in terms of technological development and finding solutions that can be affordable,” he added.
The Italian expert hailed China’s global environmental stewardship terming it an inspiration to African countries grappling with a host of ecological threats like climate change, ocean pollution, habitat loss and desertification.
“Let us think about how many projects China has been developing in the last 15 years against desertification. Of course China is bringing this experience here in Africa and this is the beautiful part of the belt and road initiative,” Ghiari told Xinhua.
He added that multilateral agencies have rallied behind the belt and road initiative in their quest to reshape sustainable development agenda in Africa and the larger developing world.