- ‘CPEC can help African countries access wider Asian markets with much-reduced time and economic cost’
BEIJING: The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) can help the African countries access wider Asian markets with much-reduced time and economic cost.
This was stated by Pakistan’s envoy to African Union (AU) Asghar Ali while addressing the Belt and Road Dialogue for China-Africa Cooperation, Chinese media reported on Saturday.
“CPEC will offer the shortest route to China and beyond to the wider regional market,” he said, adding that Pakistan will enhance its interaction with the African countries through the Gwadar deep sea port.
The dialogue was jointly organised by the AU and the Chinese Mission to the AU in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa.
Ali highlighted Pakistan’s keen interest to cooperate with the African countries in various socioeconomic sectors. He described CPEC as an “important opportunity” for African countries to reduce the economic cost of penetrating the much-larger Asian markets.
The Pakistani envoy’s positive remarks were also echoed by African and Chinese officials attending the event, as they emphasised the need to deepen partnership under the BRI so as to drive the momentum in the China-Africa Comprehensive Strategic and Cooperative Partnership.
“A large number of projects involving railways, roads, bridges, airports and seaports and industrial parks are being implemented, bringing genuine benefits to Chinese and African peoples and enriching the China-Africa Comprehensive Strategic and Cooperative Partnership,” Liu Yuxi, Head of the Chinese Mission to the AU, said in the high-level dialogue.
“If China and Africa can join hands in cooperation under the BRI, greater progress will be made to keep China-Africa cooperation on a steady path to long-term development,” the Chinese envoy to the 55-member pan-African bloc stressed.
AU Infrastructure and Energy Commissioner Amani Abou-Zeid also shared Liu’s comments, saying that the China-Africa strategic cooperation strategy could further deepen under the successful and effective implementation of the BRI and the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).
“China believes that Africa is an important partner in the belt and road cooperation,” the AU commissioner said, adding that in implementing the FOCAC action plan, the two sides are exploring and advancing cooperation that promotes continental, regional and sub-regional connectivity.
“We look forward to working closely and diligently with China under the Belt and Road Initiative to enhance the envisaged infrastructure connectivity as well as people-to-people connectivity for the good of our two peoples and the world at large,” Abou-Zeid said.
Ethiopia’s former prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn, while addressing the high-level continental meeting, also stressed the need to further expand partnership under the BRI from bilateral schemes to a multilateral platform by bringing Africa and China together.