Strategic partnerships in China drive Belt and Road initiative

The strategic partnerships that China has signed in recent decades, particularly with the majority of Portuguese-speaking countries, are a major factor to boost the Belt and Road initiative (BR), according to researchers, Yichao Li and Mário Barbosa Vicente.

In an article in the newly published book “Belt and Road Initiative: An Old Archetype of a New Development Model,” the researchers note that, of the nine countries whose official language is Portuguese, five also have strategic partnerships with China and cooperation documents related to the Belt and Road – Portugal, Mozambique, Timor-Leste, Angola and Equatorial Guinea.

Of the remaining countries, Brazil and São Tomé and Principe have strategic partnership agreements, but as yet no cooperation documents related to BR; Cabo Verde has only established cooperation with the BR, while Guinea-Bissau has not signed any of the two types of treaties with China.

In the case of Brazil, the researchers said, the partnership with China has been in place for more than 20 years, the depth and breadth of cooperation continues to increase and, although the two countries do have not formalised collaboration in the Belt and Road, “many areas of cooperation are aligned with the main concepts of the BR.”

While in the case of Guinea-Bissau, the lack of political stability has prevented, “progress in the establishment of partnerships and cooperation in the scope of the BR,” Cabo Verde and China are working on establishing a formal partnership, said the authors of the article “The Chinese Partnerships and ‘the Belt and Road’ Initiative: A Synergetic Affiliation.”

São Tomé and Príncipe has yet to sign documents of cooperation related to the BR, and it is expected to “take some time” for the two countries “to deepen cooperation in various fields.”

The article add that, noting the joint declarations on the establishment of partnerships, the analysis of the three categories and the case study of Portuguese-speaking countries, it is clear that the establishment of partnerships is a process of dynamic development that takes time.

“We can say that there is a positive relationship between the Chinese partnerships and the BR. They mutually promote and encourage each other,” the authors said.

The article also called for the need to, “pay attention not only to development and tangible cooperation in fields such as politics, economy and energy, but also to intangible exchanges in education, culture and ideas, the bonds between people incorporated into the BR.”

According to Francisco Leandro and Paulo Duarte, coordinators of the book published by Palgrave MacMillan, “there is an additional contribution of the initiative led by the Chinese government: a framework for numerous material and immaterial silk routes, such as the Sahel Silk Route, the Polar Silk Route, the Balkan Route, the Digital Silk Route, the Cultural Silk Route, the Green Silk Route, the Information Silk Route and the Space Silk Route.” (macauhub)