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Potential Impact Of New Links Into Africa

The Belt and and Road Initiative is a road map to the future and a bridge to new opportunities for South African companies.

The Belt and Road Initiative refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, a significant development strategy launched by the Chinese government with the intention of promoting economic co-operation among countries along the proposed Belt and Road routes. The Belt and Road initiative is set to reinvigorate the seamless flow of capital, goods and services between Asia and the rest of the world, by promoting further market integration and forging new ties among communities.

The initiative was first proposed by China's President Xi Jinping in 2013. "One Belt" stands for the Silk Road Economic Belt and "One Road" stands for the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

The initiative offers global businesses - from multinationals to small- and medium-sized enterprises - unparalleled opportunities to tap into new markets along the Belt and Road and gain deeper access to markets in the Chinese mainland, ASEAN and the Middle East. There is also a strong project flow across
a broad range of sectors from the obvious example of oil and gas to solid minerals to commercial property to industrial to ICT/telecommunications and a huge fast-moving consumer goods market. Transport infrastructure including port rehabilitation is receiving special attention. These developments have led to numerous business opportunities for South African exports and services.

China signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with South Africa on the Belt and Road Initiative in December 2015.

However, according to the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA), "Expanding Chinese economic interests will inevitably intersect with existing South African initiatives such as Operation Phakisa and the more general role it plays in fostering maritime co-operation throughout the Indian Ocean Rim.

Phakisa's 'blue economy' is articulated mostly in terms of enhancing domestic facilities and asserting sovereignty over maritime territories but is ultimately premised on strengthening South Africa economically as a hub for trade with Africa."


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