Kwesiga Emma

The G7 in partnership with AfDB and AFC set for a $600BN Trans-African Railway.

A project that will create a counterweight to China’s Belt and Road project and generally the influence of China on Africa.

The project will create a counterweight to China’s Belt and Road project and generally the influence of China on Africa.

U.S to leverage its vibrant African diaspora that maintain commercial connections with Africa.

For 14 years consecutively, China has been Africa’s biggest and main trading partner. China customs reported a sustained rapid growing momentum during the first seven months of this very year.

China has had such a huge influence on Africa’s infrastructural, and economic development evidenced by the participation of china in the construction of more than 6,000 kilometers of railways, 6,000 kilometers of roads, and more than 80 large-scale power facilities in Africa.

In 2021 china hit $254 billion becoming Africa’s largest two-way trading partner exceeding the US by a factor of four. Providing roughly double of the US’s direct investment, China is the largest provider of foreign direct investment. However, this hasn’t been the same story for the US despite the US-Africa relations Conferences with African Leaders and the countless envoys sent to the Nations of Africa to broker talks into sustainable economic growth. This project might be the much needed bounce-back by the US and its Allies to regain its long-lost glory and status as a partner with Africa in trade and investment for sustainable economic growth.

Despite the fact that Africa is the poorest continent, it’s also the fastest growing continent and such trade and investments into Africa are critical. Unfortunately, the continent has remained marginalized from the global economy with only a meagre 3% of world trade.

African leaders in government bodies and business cherish the growth opportunities in the U.S market. Moreover, one of the biggest assets the U.S has is its vibrant African diaspora which maintains commercial connections with Africa and can be engaged to make trade relations with Africa fruitful and sustainable.

The G7 have signed a memorandum of Understanding aimed at the development of the “Lobito Corridor” and the Zambia-Lobito railway. These efforts aim to create essential cross-continental connection with regions that are rich in mineral deposits.

Representation of the Lobito corridor on Africa’s map
Representation of the Lobito corridor on Africa’s map

Through the collaboration between the G7 and the AfDB and AFC, the inauguration of the West’s most recent effort to challenge China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which is an ambitious infrastructure development program seeking to link China with markets and economies across the globe. The involved parties have signed a memorandum of understanding spelling out their intentions to develop the Lobito Corridor and the Lobito Railway of Zambia.

Even though Chinese firms are more competitive than the U.S companies when it comes to road and bridge construction and benefit from decades of African experience, the U.S has got some very competitive companies in health, finance technology and renewable energy. Therefore the move by the G7 to develop the Lobito corridor could benefit from the integrity of the U.S companies and from the technical knowledge and consistency by the US.

In the rivalry with China’s Belt and Road, the $6,000 Billion trans-African railway construction agreement was reached in Brussels during the Global Gateway Forum, which is a selective gathering in which EU governments, corporations, financial institutions and international organizations come together to promote global infrastructure development.

“The most significant transport infrastructure that the U.S has helped develop on the African continent in a generation, and will enhance regional trade and growth as well as advance the shared vision of connected, open-access rail from the Atlantic Ocean to the Indian Ocean” the state department mentioned in a press statement about the project.

The US and its allies have attempted to introduce programs and projects with an aim of countering China’s great infrastructural investments in the developing world. The concept here, is provision of funding for the renovation of the railway line from the Angolan port of Lobito to the border of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

As was stressed by Helaina Matza, the special coordinator of the partnership in an online press briefing, the goal is to showcase the possibility to invest in substantial infrastructural projects collectively.

“All the partners have been able to put together close to $10 Million for a feasibility study before the end of this year.” Helaina Matza added.

The project doesn’t stop at the railroad, as it also encompasses the construction of 260km of roads and close to 550km of track in Zambia to span from the Jimbe border all the way to Chingola in the country’s copper region.

The corridor is also expected to comprise 4G and later 5G telecoms systems and a billion-dollar investment in solar farms and micro grids.

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