This paper will examine the role of China in the ports, infrastructure, and logistics sectors in Africa, including the rationale and actors involved in the development of these components of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) adopted by China in 2013. This will be followed by two empirical cases, the Beira Fishing Port at the Beira Development Corridor (BDC) in Mozambique and the LAPSSET Corridor in Kenya, and subsequent analysis of their effect in terms of environmental, socio-economic, transparency and debt standards.
The two case studies took place in countries whose major bilateral debts are with China, the biggest difference being the fact that Kenya with about $7.9 billion has the third biggest debt in Africa towards China after Ethiopia and Angola. Kenya’s debt is about four times the Mozambican debt with China. We argue that the two cases show not only show how the BRI is being implemented but also how it is perceived by local communities, civil society organizations (CSO's), and local political elites. It also shows the challenges and uncertainties that the BRI is facing in Africa.
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Dr Sérgio Chichava is a senior researcher at the Institute of Social and Economic Studies (IESE) in Mozambique.
Dr. Chris Alden is a professor of international relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).