China’s inclusive Belt and Road Initiative vital for Africa’s development, says UN official

By Xinhua
On 20 October 2023 at 07:52

Ten years on, China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has boosted Africa’s economic development and improved the living conditions of people in many countries, said Raymond Tavares, a representative in Cameroon and Central Africa of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).

The initiative is a role model for inclusion and international cooperation that keeps with the UN agenda, Tavares said in a recent interview with Xinhua, hailing the BRI as "an excellent opportunity for Africa to industrialize and develop."

The initiative is fundamental for African development and China’s support for African countries with its own experience in the area of industrial policies and strategies will help the continent achieve its development goals faster, he said.

Emphasizing the initiative has helped African countries find innovative solutions to their own problems, the representative said, "I like very much the idea and this is an inspiration we can get from China."

"We are still discussing policy on industrialization, policy on digitalization, policy on quality, policy on environment and sustainability as the world is undergoing rapid and profound changes," Tavares said.

With the initiative "on our side," he added, progress and goals will be achieved.

Citing the Kribi Deep Seaport in Cameroon as an example, Tavares said it has played a crucial role in bolstering infrastructure development, employment, trade and investment in Cameroon.

The construction of the first phase of the project in 2018 stimulated Cameroon’s economy and provided relief for the harbor at Douala port, the country’s most populous city, and the second phase is in progress and will help improve the efficiency of the port and enable Cameroon to become a maritime hub in Central and West Africa upon its completion.

The UN agency "intends to have a role in the creation of an economic zone or maybe an industrial park around Kribi and BRI will be facilitating," he added.

Tavares also praised China’s transfer of skills as vital, saying that "enterprises from China are doing more than development."

"Belt and Road is another way to work together, another way to do something regarding many countries, not only bilateral and this is what the United Nations in general is promoting, multilateralism," Tavares said.

Raymond Tavares, a representative in Cameroon and Central Africa of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), speaks during an interview with Xinhua in Yaounde, Cameroon, Oct. 13, 2023. (Photo by Kepseu/Xinhua)