China is involved in eight port projects, which have either been completed or announced in Portuguese-speaking countries, as a construction company or through funding, according to a recent survey by the Center for Strategic International Studies (CSIS).
The CSIS survey, by researchers Judd Devermont and Catherine Chiang, notes there are 46 operated port projects, built or financed by China, across the continent, some of which will be part of the Belt and Road initiative.
In Portuguese-speaking African countries, China is not an operator of any port facility but is a developer and financier in the announced project of the port of Mindelo in Cabo Verde, similarly to the port of Bata in Equatorial Guinea, which has also been completed.
Also in the Gulf of Guinea, the announced deepwater port of Fernão Dias in São Tomé and Príncipe is expected to have Chinese investment and construction, according to the CSIS survey.
Further south, in Cabinda, Chinese interest is focused on the construction of the port of Caio, which the CSIS said is at an “indefinite standstill,” and also on the port of Cabinda.
Also in Angola, the project to expand the port of Lobito, which has already been completed, also involved Chinese capital and engineering.
In Mozambique, the port of Beira had its capacity increased with Chinese capital and construction, while the announced port of Techobanine, south of Maputo, has Chinese funding.
The study showed that ports in sub-Saharan Africa “play a key role in the Belt and Road initiative, an extensive network of Chinese infrastructure projects linking China to Europe, East Africa and South-East Asia,” whose launch in 2013, served “for President Xi (Jinping) to open China up to new markets, to expand the political influence of his country.”
“Forming the backbone of the Maritime Silk Road, investments in African ports serve as a gateway to the region’s economic and trade development,” the researchers said.
Most of the projects “are probably focused for commercial gain,” with China rising in the last decade as the main trading partner of the continent, they said.
“Port investments are only one of the main ways in which China establishes commercial supremacy in the region,” the study said. “There are links between ports and other Belt and Road projects,” they said. (Macauhub)