China-proposed BRI complements Africa’s continental dev’t aspiration: Ethiopian expert

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The China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) positively complements Africa’s continental development aspirations towards realizing an integrated and prosperous Africa, an Ethiopian expert has said.

The construction of BRI projects, encompassing roads, railways, ports, industrial parks and digital infrastructure, are in harmony with African country’s quest for an integrated and well-connected Africa, Melaku Mulualem, senior international relations and diplomacy researcher at Ethiopia’s Institute of Strategic Affairs, told Xinhua.

“One of the major plans of Africa’s 50-year development plan is integration, and when you see the vision of the African Union, it starts with creating an integrated, prosperous, and peaceful Africa. Integration is a priority for Africa,” Mulualem said.

Mulualem emphasized that the BRI complements Africa’s 50-year continental development aspiration, as it “hugely contributes to the integration of Africa through modern railways, road and other infrastructure projects.”

“The construction of Belt and Road projects in Africa is truly in line with the Agenda 2063 of Africa. Africa is hugely benefiting from this initiative,” said Mulualem.

Mulualem argued that a growing number of African countries cooperating with China under the BRI mechanism have realized new deep seaports, thousands of kilometers of roads and railways that have transformed logistics across the continent, among other development projects.

The expert underscored that Ethiopia, as a major partner of China under the BRI, is one of the growing list of African countries that have been able to benefit from the BRI in boosting connectivity with ports in neighboring Djibouti, eventually expediting its import and export trade.

“Construction of the 752-km Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway not only transformed land-locked Ethiopia’s import and export trade, but it also boosts the country’s entire economy with an ease of access to the international market,” Mulualem argued.

According to the expert, in addition to railway, road and other infrastructure projects, Ethiopia has also highly benefited from the construction of industrial parks that were built by Chinese technologies and experts along the railway.