South Africa: Belt And Road Initiative Cements Africa-China Cooperation, Says State Lawmaker

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The China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has deepened Africa-China cooperation in various fields hence crucial for the relationship-building between the two sides, said Lechesa Tsenoli, deputy speaker of the National Assembly of South Africa.

In a recent interview with Chinese media, Tsenoli shared his insights on the significance of the initiative and its impact on the multifaceted relationship between China and African countries.

The initiative “magnifies the impact China is making on our relationship,” Tsenoli said. “Indeed, it strengthens our ability to work together across the continent, as well as with China itself in a variety of areas.”

He stressed the importance of the transportation infrastructure that has developed under the initiative, citing the railway lines that have been built in the African continent, such as the one between the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, and the coastal city of Mombasa.

As of Aug. 31, the railway is operating an average of six passenger trains per day; a total of 11 million passengers have been carried, and the average occupancy rate is above 95 percent; an average of 17 freight trains operate daily, and a total of 28 million tonnes of goods have been transported, according to a white paper on the BRI released on Tuesday.

By June, China had signed more than 200 BRI cooperation agreements with more than 150 countries and 30 international organizations across five continents, yielding a number of signature projects and small-scale yet impactful projects, said the white paper titled “The Belt and Road Initiative: A Key Pillar of the Global Community of Shared Future.”

“The provision of infrastructure for the African Union … is a significant thing that China is contributing towards,” said Tsenoli, a respected figure in African politics.

The initiative “requires good country relationships” and its growing importance underscores the profound impact on nations that benefit from their association with China, said the politician.

The third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation will be held in Beijing from Oct. 17 to 18, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying announced on Wednesday.

It serves as a valuable mechanism for fostering relationships, not only for China but also for the Belt and Road countries, he said, adding that statistics are suggesting a growth in the quality and content of the relationship between Africa and China.

Africa and China, he said, can use their collective influence to “drive things for the better” for the continent in particular and the world in general.

He applauded the progress made in Africa-China collaboration on the global level, including in global organizations and other international forums. “We sing from the same song sheet, as I said.”


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