Wed, 06 Jul 2022

YAOUNDE, May 27 (Xinhua) -- China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is building an open platform of cooperation and injecting growing impetus and stability into development of French-speaking African countries, experts said during a three-day international colloquium in Cameroon capital city of Yaounde.

The conference on BRI in Francophone Africa gathered hundreds of attendees including politicians, scholars, representatives of Chinese companies and college students.

Wang Dong, counselor of the Chinese Embassy in Cameroon, said at the opening speech that the BRI aims to strengthen the global connectivity, to enhance the level of trade and investment cooperation and to promote the international cooperation in production capacities and equipment manufacturing.

Jimmy Yab, president of the China-Africa Francophone Observatory, a think tank on relations between China and Francophone Africa that organized the colloquium, said that joint efforts and win-win cooperation are the main traits of the BRI.

Leaders in French-speaking African countries should take advantage of the initiative to enhance development of the continent, he said, adding that BRI was a veritable win-win cooperation.

"This mode of partnership is not what we have seen before. The BRI is not development aid, it is cooperation between two partners, Africa and China, where partners sit on the same table. China attaches particular importance to infrastructure because it is development, as we say in our region 'when the road passes, development follows'," Yab said during the colloquium.

Ronie Bertrand Nguenkwe, an economist and researcher at the University of Yaounde II, said the contribution made by the BRI has proven in a practical way that the initiative is based on cooperation, the exchange of benefits and common interests.

"The partnership with China is different, it's different in terms of approach, the win-win approach, and the fact that we do not feel a certain domination in the partnership, and this is an important aspect for African countries. And knowing that things are changing, what we saw 50 years ago is no longer what we see today," Nguenkwe said.

The BRI has become a popular platform for international cooperation, and has continuously supported African countries to improve infrastructure, said Norbert Aime Melingui Ayissi, history and economics lecturer at the University of Douala, specializing in development cooperation.

"This initiative gives hope, hope that things will be done differently. African governments have to do everything possible to work with China to ensure the objectives of Belt and Road are realized," he said.

Louis Dominique Biakolo Komo, lecturer of African and Comparative Philosophy at the University of Douala, noted that BRI is an exemplary mode of cooperation which is inclusive and seeks to develop the world.

"It is a cooperation of a country (China) which was victim of imperialism and which has a different vision of the world that fits squarely with the aspirations of Africa," Komo said.

Thanks to its participation in the BRI, Cameroon has improved its infrastructure, restored industries and generated employment opportunities, the experts agreed.

Xu Huajiang, General Manager of China Harbour Central Africa Division that designed and constructed some major projects in Cameroon including the Kribi Deep Sea Port and Kribi-Lolabe Highway, said that globalization and regionalization have become a general trend of development and should be embraced by African countries.

"Only openness, tolerance, inclusiveness and interconnection can create mutual assistance and mutual benefits. So, it is necessary to strengthen the 'hard connectivity' of infrastructure and 'soft connectivity' of system rules and promote the four-in-one interconnection of land, sea, sky, and network," Xu said.

The seminar, which began on Wednesday, have discussed five principal subjects of economic cooperation, green development, digital development, socio-cultural development and security.

More Nigeria News

Access More

Sign up for Nigeria News

a daily newsletter full of things to discuss over drinks.and the great thing is that it's on the house!