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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Economist Anzetse Were assures that BRI is helping
bolster both growth and development throught Africa

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) would stimulate Africa’s growth, and African governments should take bolder steps to better align themselves with the opportunities it presents, said a Nairobi-based economist.

Anzetse Were carried out an in-depth study of the BRI after joining the African Policy Institute, a 20-year-old think tank, in 2018.

"European, North American governments still view Africa as a poor disease-ridden, very corrupt country, but countries like China, they see Africa as a big market, which has a lot of economic opportunities," Were said.

Since the introduction of the BRI, China and Africa have joined hands to build large numbers of roads, bridges, railways, power stations and ports, helping to break the logjam of the development in Africa, Were told Xinhua.

Among them is the Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), the largest infrastructure project since Kenya’s independence as well as one of the major achievements of the BRI in Africa, Were pointed out.

Since opening in 2017, the SGR has transported nearly 250,000 passengers with average daily occupancy rate exceeding 97 percent.

Ten freight trains travel back and forth between Nairobi and the port city of Mombasa daily.

The SGR has cut the transport time in half.

Another example is a ceramic factory, which was built and funded by a private Chinese company and covers over 26 hectares, Were noted.

The factory has two production lines, and 90 percent of the employees are locals.

In the past, sometimes it would take many days to transport machines from Mombasa to the factory.

But with the SGR, things changed, said Alex Gerishom, administrative manager of the factory,

According to Were, the SGR not only helps struggling local small and medium countries breathe, but also drives up land prices and adds momentum to Kenya’s economy.
.

UPDATE:

China ambassador to United States Cui Tiankai
has denounced false claims BRI is a debt trap

WASHINGTON (Xinhua) -- Chinese Ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai has denounced claims that the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a debt trap.

"Some people have errantly characterized the BRI as a potential debt trap," Cui wrote in an article published Tuesday on the Fortune magazine’s website.

"But countries who have participated in and benefited from the BRI have debunked such assertions."

The ambassador said Finance Secretary of the Philippines Carlos Dominguez publicly stated that debt owed to China accounts for only 0.65 percent of the country’s total debt, and that Karunasena Kodituwakku, Sri Lanka’s ambassador to China, dismissed the idea of "debt-trap diplomacy."

Cui’s article, in which he also called on the United States to embrace the opportunities associated with the BRI, came two days bebore the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation slated for April 25-27 in Beijing.

Cui said decisions made through the BRI framework, "from project selection to investment and financing cooperation, are all based on full consultation between all parties involved, and backed by arduous risk assessment and investment feasibility studies."

"As a matter of fact, no country has become trapped in a debt crisis since its participation in the BRI," the ambassador said.

"Quite the contrary, it is through participating in BRI cooperation that many countries have emerged from the trap of underdevelopment or no development."

He cited the example of Kenya, saying that "Philip Mainga, acting managing director of Kenya Railways Corporation, said that the Kenyan economy and citizens have benefited from China’s contribution to the expansion and upgrading of transport infrastructure in the country."

According to Cui, 126 countries and 29 international organizations have signed BRI cooperation documents with China.

Total trade between China and other BRI countries has exceeded 6 trillion U.S. dollars, and China’s investment in these countries has surpassed 80 billion dollars.

Chinese companies, the ambassador added, have generated over 2 billion dollars in tax revenue and 300,000 jobs for locals.

"The BRI is open, inclusive and transparent," Cui said.

"It is not a geopolitical tool, nor is it designed to form an exclusive clique or impose any terms on others."

             

 

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