30 June 2018, Sweetcrude, Lagos — The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr Dakuku Peterside has said the new Maritime Silk Road initiative will boost China-Africa economic partnership.
The Maritime Silk Road initiative is being promoted by the Chinese shipping sub-sector to develop international shipping connectivity across South East Asia, Africa, Oceania, Indian ocean and is expected to create a new opening for Africa to advance its economic partnership for the benefit of the continent.
Speaking at the 29th annual session of the club of ports of the Crans Montana forum currently ongoing in Brussels, Belgium, Peterside said that the maritime silk roads come with a lot of benefits for the continent.
He, however, charged African countries to be strategic in decision making in order to reap the rewards and avert some perceived risk inherent in the initiative.
“Whereas China is pursuing new transportation linkages throughout the Eurasia region and Africa to boost trade and enhance her economic status; Africa must key in to develop her port infrastructure, maritime assets financing and create jobs for her people,” he said.
The agency boss who is also Chairman of the Conference listed potential threats such as the likelihood of ports being taken over by the Chinese to the detriment of Africans noting that the Maritime Silk Road initiative will create an opening for African markets to be flooded with Chinese goods.
Dr Dakuku also said that as a result of the China-driven initiative, Chinese policy may also affect port calls and hub decisions.
He warned that the oil tanker and gas markets will be affected by the construction of new pipelines that will connect Africa to China which will engender Chinese political dominance in Africa if not carefully managed.
He advocated the support of the China-led maritime Silk Road initiative but charged Africa to do the needful to ensure her economic interests is fully protected.
The Maritime Silk Road refers to the maritime section of historic Silk Road that connects China to Southeast Asia, Indonesian archipelago, Indian subcontinent, Arabian Peninsula, Somalia and all the way to Egypt and finally Europe, that flourished between 2nd-century BCE and 15th-century CE.
The trade route encompassed numbers of seas and ocean; including the South China Sea, Strait of Malacca, Indian Ocean, Gulf of Bengal, Arabian Sea, Persian Gulf and the Red Sea. The maritime route overlaps with historic Southeast Asian maritime trade, Spice trade, Indian Ocean trade and after 8th century—the Arabian naval trade network. The network also extends eastward to the East China Sea and the Yellow Sea to connect China with Korean Peninsula and the Japanese archipelago.