By Yemi Akinsuyi
The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr. Dakuku Peterside, has said the promoted by China to develop international shipping connectivity across South East Asia, Africa, Oceania, Indian ocean will create a new opening for Africa to advance its economic partnership for the bene t of the continent.
Peterside, who was speaking as the chairman of the 29th annual session of club of ports
of the Crans Montana forum currently ongoing in Brussels, Belgium, said that the maritime silk roads comes with a lot of bene ts for the continent. He however charged African countries to be strategic in decision making in order to reap the rewards and avert some perceived risk inherent in the initiative.
“Whereas China is pursuing new transportation linkages throughout the Eurasia region and Africa to boost trade and enhance her economic status; Africa must key in to develop her port infrastructure, maritime assets nancing and create jobs for her people” he said.
Speaking further, he listed potential threats such as likelihood of ports being taken over by the Chinese to the detriment of Africans noting that the maritime Silk Road initiative will create opening for African markets to be ooded with Chinese goods.
Peterside also said that as a result of the China driven initiative, Chinese policy may also a ect port calls and hub decisions. He warned that the oil tanker and gas markets will be a ected by the construction of new pipelines that will connect Africa to China which will engender Chinese political dominance in Africa if not carefully managed.
e NIMASA DG further advocated the support of the China led maritime Silk Road initiative but charged Africa to do the needful to ensure her economic interests is fully protected.
Other speakers at the Club of Ports annual meeting are Jose Gonclaves of Cape Verde, Mohamed Ibrahim of Mali , Abass AlNaqi of Organisation of Arab PETROLUEM exporting countries, Sergey Sidorsky of Eurasian Economic Commission, Mircea Ciopraga of TRCECA, Deniz Beten of NATO, Jean Osso of Congo, Pierre Ndiaye of Gabon, Farshad Shahbaz of Iran , Erwin
Cootjans of NERTHERLAND, Salou Oumarou of BELGIUM, Paul Altena of Belgium.
e Maritime Silk Road refers to the maritime section of historic Silk Road that connects China to Southeast Asia, Indonesian archipelago, Indian subcontinent, Arabian peninsula, Somalia and all the way to Egypt and nally Europe, that ourished between 2nd-century BCE and 15th-century CE.
e trade route encompassed numbers of seas and ocean; including South China Sea, Strait of Malacca, Indian Ocean, Gulf of Bengal, Arabian Sea, Persian Gulf and the Red Sea. e maritime route overlaps with historic Southeast Asian maritime trade, Spice trade, Indian Ocean trade and a er 8th century— the Arabian naval trade network. e network also extends eastward to East China Sea and Yellow Sea to connect China with Korean Peninsula and Japanese archipelago.