African integration necessary to join global value chains – Prof Wang
Edgar Brandt WINDHOEK – A visiting Chinese academic, Prof Wang Yiwei, has welcomed continental integration initiatives such as the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM), saying that regional and continental endeavours are imperative in joining global value chains and encouraging industrialisation. Wang presented a seminar at the University of Namibia (Unam) yesterday as part of the fifth anniversary celebrations of the university’s Confucius Institute. “For a small, limited economy like Namibia’s, then properly joining the global value chains means access to a much larger market and access to larger markets means that industrialisation can flourish,” said Wang when speaking to New Era on the sidelines of the seminar. Wang’s celebratory presentation in the Unam library focussed on China’s massive Belt Road Initiative (BRI), also known as One Belt One Road, as well as on Namibia and China’s cooperation. He noted that China has since the inception of the initiative in 2013 invested about US$70 billion in countries and regions involved with the BRI. The five major goals of the initiative are policy co-ordination, connectivity of facilities, unimpeded trade, financial integration, and people-to-people bonds. The BRI also aims to uplift economies that have potential but are not expected to evolve due to isolation from the rest of the world. The BRI is being touted by China as the largest project of the century through which it proposed building a network of railroads and shipping lanes linking itself with 70 countries across Asia, Africa, Europe, and Oceania. The main focuses of the BRI are in infrastructure, transportation and energy. The BRI consists of two parts, namely the “Belt,” which recreates an old Silk Road land route, and the “Road,” which is not actually a road, but a route through various oceans. According to Bloomberg, the BRI will involve 80 percent of the global economy and has the potential to create three billion more middle class by 2050. A major component of the ambitious BRI is facilitating infrastructure development across numerous countries, with the main focus when planning these developments being the revival of six economic corridors that link Asia-Pacific to Europe to Africa. Wang, who is the Vice-president, Director of Institute of International Affairs and Director of the Centre for European Studies at Renmin University in China, and has written four books on the BRI, emphasised that the Chinese initiative can boost global value chains and can in essence enable underdeveloped regions to compete with industrialised competitors like Europe, the United States of America and Japan. “The BRI brings inclusive globalisation and in the 21st century the world needs a new model for a global economy to foster and promote true globalisation,” said Wang He added that while Africa has liberated itself politically, economically it is still quite dependant on Europe and other Western powers. Wang elaborated on China’s willingness to invest in infrastructure. He emphasised that industrialisation takes place on the sidelines of infrastructure development as it creates new economies and boosts existing sectors. “This is a win-win situation for China because while Chinese companies make money off infrastructure projects, the host countries eventually boost their gross domestic products due to the inevitable industrialisation,” said Wang.
New Era Reporter
2018-07-27 09:32:38 8 months ago