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makem it pos­si­ble to bet­coun­tries, es­pe­cially line.l lsol help in open­ing up nd in­tra-African trade s.s d p Ini­tia­tive shoul­drad­par­tic­i­pa­tion in global as a cat­a­lyst for the ationa of the con­ti­nent,” thet Tu­nisian am­bas­sador to Morocco, says the ini­tia­tive has brought con­nec­tions be­tween peo­ple as well as bet­ter un­der­stand­ing.

“The ini­tia­tive has ... bridged the gap that has ex­isted be­tween the East and the West. The best thing is that China has opened it­self up to un­der­stand the rest of the world. The ini­tia­tive seeks to gather peo­ple to­gether with the com­mon goal of pros­per­ity. We are on the same road, and China is the se­cu­rity belt,” he says.

Jean-Claude Brou, Cote d’Ivoire’s min­is­ter of in­dus­try and mines, says the ini­tia­tive will re­in­force con­nec­tiv­ity and growth, in ad­di­tion to pro­mot­ing em­ploy­ment growth.

“I be­lieve the ini­tia­tive will be an im­por­tant el­e­ment to sum up the re­quired trans­for­ma­tion and in­vest­ment in the value chain as well as in in­no­va­tion and tech­nol­ogy,” he says.

Karim Tazi, pres­i­dent of the Moroc­can Tex­tile and Cloth­ing In­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tion, says, “Coun­tries lo­cated in the eco­nomic belt area will be able to ben­e­fit from trade re­la­tions by es­tab­lish­ing the nec­es­sary in­fra­struc­ture and sales board net­works, which will have a ben­e­fi­cial ef­fect on de­vel­op­ment of in­tra­trade and joint in­vest­ment.”

How­ever, Elalamy says the ex­pected ben­e­fits of the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive will be achieved if the funds al­lo­cated to the ini­tia­tive are in­vested in in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion projects and if Africa takes con­trol of its in­dus­trial fu­ture and de­ploys ap­pro­pri­ate strate­gies.

Abdu Mukhtar, the African De­vel­op­ment Bank’s di­rec­tor of in­dus­trial and trade de­vel­op­ment in the pri­vate sec­tor, also says Africa should have a strat­egy for China.

“Africa has many think tanks that claim to be ex­perts on China, so it is im­por­tant to have a plat­form to bring them to­gether so that they can clearly articulate what Africa re­ally needs from the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment and pri­vate in­vestors in the next five years,” he says.

Oth­man Ben­jel­loun, the CEO of BMCE Bank of Africa Group and chair­man of Fi­nanceCom in Morocco, says Belt and Road projects should ap­proach Africa as a whole, since the con­ti­nent presents many op­por­tu­ni­ties.

David You, vice-pres­i­dent of the in­ter­na­tional sys­tem busi­ness unit at Trina So­lar Ltd in China, says his coun­try’s ap­proach through the ini­tia­tive is to make friends around the world.

“The ob­jec­tive of the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive is to cre­ate a plat­form for global eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion,” he says.

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