China as major trading partner for Africa?

How new Silk Road will cement China as major trading partner for Africa

In 138 BC China took its first step towards global connectivity with the establishment of the historical Silk Road. Zhang Qian was sent by Emperor Wudi to Central Asia to establish trade relationships. His historic missions enabled China to make contact with the outposts of Hellenic civilisation established by Alexander the Great.

These efforts enabled Emperor’s Han dynasty to develop political and trade relationships with Central Asian countries. New ideas came to China, along with new plants like grapes and alfalfa and superior breeds of horses.

Centuries later, China is building a very different, very modern version of that route. The Belt and Road Initiative consists of two complementary, concurrent plans. One is an overland route connecting Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia to China. The second is the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, which aims to connect China, South East and South Asia with Africa.


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Guangzhou – Singapore - SACU Shipping Business, Keifang – Tel Aviv - IGAD trade routes, Shanghai – Israel – Cape Town - West Africa Shipping global, China – Middle West - Kenya Shipping 4.0. Hong Kong – SIngapore - IGAD coordinated routes 4.0. 

One Belt One Road towards a China-led HE area?

As China includes higher education, science and research in the mix of its massive One Belt One Road (OBOR) infrastructure and trade project with Asia, Europe, the Middle East and East Africa, a China-dominated global higher education area could emerge, an international seminar of experts heard last week.  However, it is still early days for China’s Marshall-Plan-like megaproject, which was initiated in 2013, with investments of upwards of US$5 trillion. Full implementation will depend on long-term strategic planning by the Beijing government and how long Chinese leader Xi Jinping will be around to push his pet internationalisation project, experts said.  “In infrastructure [China] is leading the world, in higher education it surely has that capacity as well,” William Kirby, professor of China studies at Harvard University, told the international seminar on OBOR and higher education at Utrecht University in the Netherlands on 19 March.  

China and re-globalisation: Strategies for Africa 

Re-Globalisation involves the reform, upgrading, expansion and transformation of globalisation to make it more inclusive and balanced. The objective is to restore legitimacy, embed certainty and entrench sustainability. China, the second biggest economy in the world, is the key engine of re-globalisation, through such initiatives as the Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank (AIIB), New Development Bank (NDB), the Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRICS) framework, and its huge corporates such as Ali Baba. A key part of China’s re-globalisation strategy is the “one belt, one road initiative” which was renamed the belt road initiative (BRI) in 2016.

Africa’s economy – premature deindustrialisation

With the industrial revolution, the restructuring of the economies affected has begun, which is primarily reflected by the re-stratification of employment, which means the following development path in the case of the countries of the Western world: the first step is the flow of workforce from agriculture into industry, that is, industrialisation, later followed by a transfer of workforce released from the agricultural sector into the tertiary sector (second step). The third step is deindustrialisation, when industry gradually starts to lose from its weight due to a decrease in its share in total employment and an increase in the services sector – while there is a continuous decline in the primary sector. In the post-industrial development phase workforce flows only from the industry into the tertiary sector. 

Everybody is in FIR and in Gamification.

How Africa can lead the way in the FIR

By leapfrogging directly to cutting-edge technologies, Africa can bypass the industrial phase in which developed countries invested in now cumbersome technological infrastructure – and bypass the cost of revamping it as well. This is of particular importance when it comes to addressing Africa’s deficiencies in basic needs. As Peter Diamandis points out in his book Abundance, exponential technologies can accelerate access to water, food, energy, healthcare and education. And a whole new wave of entrepreneurs and innovators in Africa are doing just that.

The 4th Industrial Revolution in Africa – Opportunities and Challenges

Take agriculture. Technologies from sensors to mobile to predictive analytics are driving new models and outcomes. Kenyan digital platform MbeguChoice is a joint effort by researchers, agriculture inspectors and seed specialists that asks a series of questions to help farmers determine the best seed choices. Start-up UjuziKilimo provides tailored recommendations on planting via text message to farmers by using sensors to measure and analyse soil qualities.

Industrial revolution – from the steam engine to atrificial intelligence

The industrial revolution has fundamentally changed mankind’s relationship with nature, the methods of economic production, and, consequently, everyday life.  As a result of the original accumulation of capital and embourgeoisement, the process, first unfolding on the British Isles, has been going on until today – but now on a global level. The approximately 250-year-old history of industrial revolutions can be divided into different stages. The academically most widespread division differentiates between three major eras, on the basis of the technology exerting the greatest impact on the economy: the initial period of the industrial revolution – in other words, the First Industrial Revolution – lasted from the 1760s to the 1840s, with the steam engine being the most dominant invention, replacing the use of animal effort in agriculture, and allowed the launch of mechanised production in the industry. The most significant technological achievement of the Second Industrial Revolution – which lasted roughly from the 1870s until World War I – is electric power and its widespread use, and, in relation to it, the beginning of mass production.

And recognizing the increased demand for farming data and analytics, Gro Intelligence maps any form of agricultural information to its classification system, enabling comparable sets of data. Already more than 70% of African farmers have used information and communications technology, with 90% percent seeing increased overall output. 

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