China strenghtens investments in African ports

China is using its $1 trillion-plus investment initiative in infrastructure projects as a way to expand its military footprint, projecting power and influence around the globe from the Horn of Africa into the Middle East and South Asia, according to a new report.

The report, released this week by the Washington-based Center for Advanced Defense Studies (C4ADS), reviewed 15 Chinese-financed infrastructure programs, the Washington Times reported last week.

C4ADS analysts found that Beijing’s focus on building ports, roads, railroads and pipelines will bolster China’s financial prowess through these spheres of economic influence. But the infrastructure network created through development projects under the initiative also lays down the logistical backbone for China’s military, the report found.

Earlier this month, China and Ghana signed agreements totaling $66 million to support the Jamestown fishing port complex and implementations of other projects, Ghana News Agency reported.  As part of the bilateral agreement, China is providing $50m for the construction of the port. Construction on the fishing port complex is expected to start this year.

Also, Chinese investors want to transform the Cameroonian city of Kribi into the largest seaport in central Africa, DW reported last December

Kribi’s autonomous port is one of the biggest Chinese investment projects anywhere in the world. When it opens for business, it will be the largest deepwater port in central Africa.

Some 85% of the €1.1 billion ($1.3 billion) budget for the new harbor project is financed by the Export-Import Bank of China, with the rest falling to the government of Cameroon. The state-run China Harbor Engineering Corporation (CHEC) has been overseeing construction.

Cameroon’s government is hopeful the new port will stimulate its economy and relieve some of the pressure on the harbor at Duala, the country’s most populous city, while also providing dock space for larger ships.

Meanwhile, Nigeria’s mission to become the hub of port of destination in the Sub-Saharan Africa is currently under intense pressure from four other cities in countries vying for the same position in the continent, All Africa reported.

The citie sare: Durban, in South Africa, Abidjan, in Cote d’Ivoire, Mombasa, in Kenya, and Tema, in Ghana. They have highlighted serious investment on greenfield ports and at advanced stage in the development of existing seaports.

Factors that determine who will eventually emerge the hub status was highlighted in a recent report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) titled: ‘Strengthening Africa’s gateways to trade’. The report rated Nigeria behind four other countries, which appears to be growing faster in Africa.

The report picked only port of Durban as a hub at the moment, while Nigeria, Benin Republic and Ghana are in tight race to become hub in West Africa.

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