It has been 8 years since Chinese President Xi Jinping introduced the concept of The Belt & Road Initiative to the world. Described as a “colossal infrastructure investment”, the BRI, also known as the New Silk Road, is designed to usher a new era of trade and growth for economies in Asia, Europe, Africa and beyond. At least 140 countries globally are signatories to the BRI as at January 2021; 46 of these countries are in Africa, where various BRI projects have begun to take shape.
Now Africa and China are set to mark 21 years of multilateral partnership, at the Forum On China Africa Cooperation summit in Senegal later this year, and discussions on the Belt and Road are expected to feature prominently. So how far has the Belt and Road been developed in Africa? What has been its impact on African countries so far, and will it deliver on its promise for the people of the continent?