Dakuku says maritime silk road will boost China-Africa trade
.Urges Africans to protect economic interest
By Michael Chisom
The Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dr Dakuku Peterside, has said that the Maritime Silk Road initiative promoted by China to develop international shipping connectivity across South East Asia, Africa, Oceania, Indian ocean will create a new opening for Africa to advance its economic partnership for the benefit of the continent.
Dr Dakuku who was speaking as the Chairman of the 29th annual session of club on ports of the Crans Montana forum in Brussels, Belgium, said that the maritime Silk Road comes with a lot of benefits for the continent. He charged African countries to be strategic in decision making, in order to benefit and avert some perceived risk inherent in the initiative.
He said, “China is pursuing new transportation linkages throughout the Eurasia region and Africa to boost trade and enhance its economic status. Africa must key into developing its port infrastructure, maritime assets financing and create jobs for the people”.
Speaking further, he listed potential threats such as likelihood of ports being taken over by the Chinese to the detriment of Africans, noting that the maritime Silk Road initiative will create opening for African markets to be flooded with Chinese goods.
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, which will connect Africa to China. This, he said, may engender Chinese political dominance in Africa if not carefully managed.
The NIMASA DG advocated support for China led maritime Silk Road initiative but charged Africa to do the needful, to ensure that its economic interests is fully protected.
Other speakers at the Club of Ports annual meeting include Jose Gonclaves of Cape Verde, Mohamed Ibrahim of Mali , Abass AlNaqi, Organisation of Arab PETROLUEM exporting countries, Sergey Sidorsky of Eurasian Economic Commission, Mircea Ciopraga of TRCECA, Deniz Beten of NATO, Jean Osso of Congo, Pierre Ndiaye of Gabon, Farshad Shahbaz of Iran , Erwin Cootjans of NERTHERLAND, Salou Oumarou of BELGIUM, Paul Altena of Belgium.