China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) will complement the growth of Africa’s continental free trade and link Africa’s huge market to the rest of the world, a Djibouti official said here Monday.
“I am expecting more movements of goods, infrastructure development from the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation slated for April in Beijing, as well as stronger interconnection between Africa and the rest of the world,” Aboubaker Omar Hadi, chairman of Djibouti Ports and Free Zone Authority, told Xinhua in an interview on the sidelines of the ongoing Africa CEO Forum in Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda.
Projects involving cooperation with China that include the Ethiopia-Djibouti railway and the Doraleh Multi-Purpose Port and international free trade zone are helping the East African country promote trade in Africa as well as distribution across the East African region, said Hadi.
The authority has recorded 41 billion U.S. dollars in exports and imports through Djibouti ports, which can’t be achieved without developing proper infrastructure, such as sea ports and railway connections, said the chairman.
Proper infrastructure will help trade across the African continent flourish, as Djibouti serves as a gateway to big markets outside Africa, he added.
Hadi also said the accusations against China made by Western countries about letting some African countries fall into a debt trap due to cooperation on the BRI are “complete nonsense,” as benefits generated from infrastructure construction will far exceed the investment.
About 1,500 participants, including Africa’s top CEOs, international investors, experts and high-level policy makers, are meeting at the two-day forum to discuss major topics and key challenges concerning Africa’s private sector.