Portuguese-speaking countries well positioned to benefit from China’s ‘Belt and Road’ initiative

Portuguese-speaking countries are well positioned to share the economic benefits associated with the “Belt and Road” initiative announced by China, according to Clbrief (https://clbrief.com/), a news service specialising in the Portuguese-speaking world and China.

The published text said that the Chinese authorities have made it clear that the inclusion of the Portuguese-speaking countries in this initiative is possible and adds that these countries have much to gain from China extending the original geographical scope of the initiatives of the New Silk Road and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

Interest in this initiative has been noticeable both in Cabo Verde (Cape Verde) and in Portugal, two countries that are closer to the original geographical layout and which have important strategic links with China.

“In fact, Portuguese-speaking countries share a number of characteristics that make them particularly well placed to benefit from the initiative, such as having international airports and direct access to the sea, whether they already have deep water ports or will have them in the future. ”

In São Tomé and Príncipe, for example, the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CBRC) is set to build a deepwater port, which the local government intends to transform into a regional navigation centre. In Guinea-Bissau, another Portuguese-speaking country, in 2016 the China Machinery Engineering Corporation signed an agreement with the government to begin construction of a similar infrastructure in Buba, south of the capital Bissau.

Trade between China and the eight Portuguese-speaking countries has grown very rapidly in the past decade and a half, rising from US$11 billion in 2003, the year Forum Macau was established, to US$117 billion in 2017, in addition to about 400 Chinese companies investing over US$6 billion in those countries.

The article points out that all Portuguese-speaking countries have strategic value, with Brazil being South America’s largest economy and China’s main trading partner, Timor-Leste (East Timor), a candidate for ASEAN, Angola, an African country that is one of the main oil suppliers to China and is a member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and Mozambique, an East African country that will eventually be one of the largest suppliers of natural gas. (macauhub)