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一带一路:对非洲意味着什么


从长远看,“一带一路”将有利于推动《非盟2063议程》发展,因此很多非洲人士表示,中国需要非洲,非洲也需要中国


文|梅拉库·穆鲁阿勒姆(Melaku Mulualem)埃塞俄比亚外交关系战略研究所培训部主任  翻译|郑东超


“一带一路”的提出

中国交通建设股份有限公司是中国大型公司之一,在世界各国承建大型基础设施工程,其中包括从蒙巴萨至内罗毕的铁路、连接中国和巴基斯坦的喀喇昆仑公路、巴基斯坦的瓜达尔港、斯里兰卡的汉班托特港口、印度尼西亚苏拉马都大桥、连接塞尔利亚和匈牙利的铁路。

中国公司承接大型工程并非一时兴起,而是经过深思熟虑,这是一个倡议规划框架下的系列工程。该倡议旨在重新焕发古代丝绸之路的生机,致力于建设庞大的全球合作网络。倡议涉及的区域范围包含古代丝绸之路的地域,但又不仅局限于此。这就是中国国家主席习近平于2013年提出的“一带一路”倡议。

“一带一路”包含陆上海上两个方向。陆上方向横跨亚洲、欧洲和非洲,海上方向从中国沿海出发分两支,一支经中国南海和印度洋到达欧洲,另一支经中国南海到达南太平洋,目标是实现世界主要海港的联通。

“一带一路”建设涵盖领域广泛,具体包括交通、能源、通讯、投资、贸易、工业、金融、教育、旅游和技术。该倡议是推动中国“走向全球”的国家战略,沿线地区内部的互联互通网络正逐步建设推进。塞尔维亚-匈牙利铁路、印尼的雅加达-万隆高铁已经动工,以中国-老挝铁路、中国-泰国铁路为组成部分的泛亚洲铁路网络正在成形,其他铁路项目正紧锣密鼓地规划或实施中。

除此之外,在中巴经济走廊、中蒙俄经济走廊、新欧亚大陆桥、孟中印缅经济走廊框架下的大型项目建设进展迅速。2014年12月中国发起成立了400亿美元的丝路基金,以支持“一带一路”项目。亚洲基础设施投资银行也已经成立并运营,中国与非洲、拉美之间的产能合作基金也已运营。

 

中国从中能够得到什么

“一带一路”已开始为中国带来经济和文化红利。倡议的目标是推动中国的贸易量达到21万亿美元。在该倡议的推动下,自由贸易协议和区域合作进程加快,中国贸易和投资发展随之迅猛发展。“一带一路”沿线地区的贸易和投资的增长速度是全球平均增长速度的两倍。

因为中国拥有庞大的美元外汇储备,而其造成的金融堵塞成为中美摩擦的根源之一,美国批评中国以不公平的方式操纵货币。人民币不断的贬值使得中国掌握的美元增值。由于握有过剩的硬货币储备,中国担心美国财政政策变化引起汇率变动,引发不可预测的货币率波动。

“一带一路”横跨亚非欧,覆盖了不同文化、政治和经济类型的国家。“一带一路”沿线国家之间的人文交往频率加大,中国在沿线国家组织很多活动,诸如文化年、艺术节和丝绸之路书展。中国与各国文化交往取得很大成就,丝绸之路已经被纳进联合国教科文组织世界遗产名录。

中国企业阔步走出国门,树立自己的信誉,采用新的商业模式,寻求升级,建立评估和管理风险机制,提升社会责任管理意识,在更高层次上参与国际竞争,这是中国扩大国际影响力、创建国际品牌的过程。

 

非洲的利益和机会

目前,已有超过34个国家和国际组织与中国签署了关于“一带一路”的协议,超过70个国家公开支持并愿加入“一带一路”建设,这其中包括很多非洲国家。

“一带一路”倡议提升非洲港口建设能力,不仅提升港口所在国家的进出口水平,还有利于提升非洲整体的贸易水平。例如,蒙巴萨港口可以为肯尼亚、乌干达、卢旺达、南苏丹和刚果共和国等国提供海上贸易服务。在建的肯尼亚拉穆港口也将为肯尼亚、埃塞俄比亚、南苏丹、乌干达提供海上贸易服务。同样,提升吉布提港、达累斯萨拉姆港港口的吞吐能力将有利于推动相关国家乃至地区的贸易水平。

非洲也可以从基础设施建设中获取收益。中国为开展基建项目,向非洲派出大量技术人员,随之提升非洲国家的技术水平,带动技术升级。并且,大量基础设施建设,还有利于提高非洲国家的就业率。“一带一路”沿线的非洲国家从丝路基金获得贷款,有助于加速推进其基础设施建设,提高经济发展水平。现有的国际金融治理机构如世界银行和国际货币基金组织,效率低下,设置不公平的借贷条件,发展中国家对此较为失望。中国发起亚洲基础设施投资银行,给非洲国家带来了希望。

中非之间的年贸易额已超过2000亿美元。在“一带一路”框架下,在建的铁路和公路将最大限度地提高非洲域内的贸易水平,扩大非洲国家的进出口规模,促进非洲经济融入全球经济。从长远看,“一带一路”将有利于推动《非盟2063议程》的发展,该议程旨在实现非洲国家的公平、可持续发展、健全法治、维护和平安全,实现非洲国家内部的互联互通。因此很多非洲人士表示,中国需要非洲,非洲也需要中国。

 

2017年4月13日,在肯尼亚蒙内铁路一列测试列车上,乘务员练习如何招待旅客


以非西方为中心的全球化

著名作家克劳迪奥·希奥弗·雷维拉认为,人类历史上全球化的第一幕始于公元前200年的丝绸之路。复兴“一带一路”意味着复兴始于古代稚嫩的以东方国家为主导的全球化,西方国家主导下的现代全球化将东方主导的全球化视为竞争者。由于信息鸿沟、人力资源缺乏、基础设施落后,发展中国家处于全球化的边缘地带,难以享受到全球化带来的经济红利。相反,发达国家处于全球经济不平衡的经济获益端。历史上,西方国家的行为如跨大西洋奴隶贸易、工业革命、殖民化、新殖民主义,受害方总是非洲。

因此,非洲担心新的全球化倡议,考虑是否有选择地接纳?如果非洲国家认识到“一带一路”的目的,不仅是基础设施建设,还是东方国家主导的第二轮全球化。那么显而易见,非洲可以安心接受中国提出的新型全球化倡议。

在此过程中,非洲国家受益良多。例如,非洲希望在内陆腹地重点建设公路和其他配套基础设施,将“一带一路”项目工程延伸至非洲的边缘和沿海地带,实现非洲内陆与边疆之间的交通联通,将有助于提高非洲进出口贸易的效益和质量。

在全球交易中,商品的多样性、保持强劲的出口竞争力、保有高水平的生产力和技术是保持战略优势的关键要素。制造业对非洲国家的GDP贡献率很低,很多国家在5%以下。一些非洲国家如埃塞俄比亚利用市场力量和国家干预,发挥劳动密集型优势,努力释放发展潜力。非洲可以利用“一带一路”推动自身的工业化进程。这需要现代的信息和网络基础设施,以突破复杂的全球化市场机制。

非洲的劳务人员现在亟需新知识和技术,以提升人力资源水平。“一带一路”将成为知识技术转移的高效的传递者。为有效接受技术转移,非洲人应学习汉语,这门世界上使用人口最多的语言。

非洲国家政府也应制定相应的法律保障,或者修订已不合时宜的法律,以适应“一带一路”建设。这涉及的领域包括商业变革、知识产权保护、出口信誉保证、反行贿法律等等。在“一带一路”的推动下,如果非洲从中国领导的倡议中公平获利,将会增强规范管理的能力,重新调整以利用诸如世界贸易组织的国际机制。提高非洲的监管能力有助于提升产品和服务的质量,而这正是目前非洲所欠缺的。

非洲国家应增强吸引国外投资的能力,提升机构效率。由于布雷顿森林体系存在缺陷,非洲国家应充分利用丝路基金和亚投行,从中获取束缚少、更公正的贷款,增强非洲发展银行、亚投行和亚洲发展银行的合作。

在过去的数年,全球化进程呈现出新特点:随着新技术和电子商务的发展,国际投资规模的扩大,全球化的主要玩家在悄然生变。新主要玩家中国主张以去政治化推动“一带一路”,这有利于在西方国家主导的全球化中被边缘化的非洲国家。

“一带一路”作为反映全球化新趋势的投资战略,不以意识形态为驱动,旨在探索新的国际合作和全球治理新模式,这是与现存和过去所有类似倡议的不同之处。希望“一带一路”推动全球和平,非洲从中收益。



OBOR: What Is In There for Africa?


by Melaku Mulualem,Foreign Policy Analysis Department Head in the Ethiopian Foreign

Relation Strategic Studies Institute



Background

The China Communications ConstructionCompany Ltd.(CCCC) is one of China’s giant corporations currently engaged inconstructing Ethiopia’s multi-billion mega railway networks and hasparticipated in other gigantic infrastructure projects in Africa, including theMombasa-Nairobi railway,Korakoram highway linking China and Pakistan,the Gwadarport in Pakistan,the Hambantota port in Sri Lanka,the Suramadu Bridgein Indonesia and the Hungary-Serbia railway.

Many believe these robust infrastructuralsurges by Chinese companies are not unrelated projects but well thought-outinitiatives that would eventually form parts of the signature project thatChina embarked upon with the aim of networking huge chunk of the globe througha re-birth of its ancient Silk Road routes and beyond. The project that theChinese President Xi Jinping initiated in 2013 is officially named the SilkRoad Economic Belt and 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road, in short, One Belt, OneRoad (OBOR).

Despite the name, the OBOR is not limitedto the ancient routes of the Silk Road. The land route goes overland straddlingthe continents of Asia, Europe and Africa while the ocean route goes from China’scoast to Europe through the South China Sea and Indian Ocean in one route, andfrom China’s coast through the South China Sea to the South Pacific in theother and is planned to connect many of the world’s major sea ports.

The dimension of China’s Belt and Roadinitiative covers a gamut of sectors: transport, energy, communication,investment, trade, industry, finance, education, tourism and technology.

The Chinese see the initiative as theircountry’s strategy to go globe. Already, a network of regionalinter-connectivity is gradually and steadily taking shape. The Hungary-Serbiarailway and the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed rail Indonesia that have begunconstruction and the pan-Asia railway network including the China-Laos,China-Thailand railways are cases in point. A number of highway projects arealso being pressed for implementation.

Besides, construction of economic corridorsthat are seeing substantial progress include many major projects under theChina-Pakistan Economic Corridor, the China-Mongolia-Russia economic corridor,the new Eurasia land bridge economic corridor, and theBangladesh-China-India-Myanmar economic corridor. China has planned to pumphuge amount of money – 8 trillion US Dollars – into the entireproject. To that effect, China launched the 40 billion dollar Silk Road Fund tosupport the various projects along the Silk Road in December 2014. The AsianInfrastructure Investment Bank is also up and running while industrial capacitycooperation funds between China and Africa and China and Latin America havebeen set up and put into use.

 

The benefits for China

Through the OBOR, China has already startedto reap economic and cultural dividends. The initiative targets to spur tradevolume of a whopping 21 trillion U.S. dollars. The current trade volume hasmore than doubled already and is opening up access to overseas markets for itsgrowing surplus production capacity in sectors such as steel manufacturing. Underthe initiative, trade and investment have boomed, with free trade agreementsand regional cooperation taking quicker steps. Trade and investment growth inareas within the Belt and Road Initiative have witnessed growth more than twicethe speed of global average.

The financial clogging due to China’sdollar surplus capacity has always been a source of friction with the US, thelatter criticizing the former of unfair monetary manipulations. The repeateddevaluation of Chinese Yuan currency also make the dollar in China’s hands toappreciate with no significant use in production and trade influence. This isalso a concern for China as the surplus hard currency reserve is prone tounforeseen fluctuations, its exchange rate being driven by US fiscal changes.

The OBOR projects spanning from Asia andEurope to Africa, cover completely different cultural, political, and economiclandscapes. Cultural and people-to-people exchanges have grown much closeramong countries involved in the initiative. China has, for instance, launchedsuch events as culture years, art festivals and the Silk Road book projectsalong the routes. Prominent development is unfolding on the cultural front forChina as the Silk Road has been successfully included into the UNESCO WorldHeritage list, while a joint application has started for the inclusion of theMaritime Silk Road into the list.

As they venture out of their territory,Chinese companies are building on experience and reputation for themselves,adopting new business models, seeking business and structural upgrades toparticipate in international competitions at a higher level, thereby promotingtheir influence and brands in the process. Chinese companies have started tosee benefits in formulating mechanisms to properly assess and manage risks, andestablish and improve their corporate social responsibility management.

 

The Benefit and Opportunities of the OBORto Africa

The initiative will include sixty-threecountries in the world covering 62% of the world population, i.e., 4.5 billionpeople. So far, up to 34 countries and international organizations have inkeddeals with China to build the Belt and Road Initiative, while over 70 countriesand organizations have voiced support for and willingness join the initiative.Many of these countries are from the African continent.

Improving the capacity of a port throughthe Chinese initiative does not only improve import and export trade of aspecific country, but it can also facilitate trade relations in the continentat large. For instance the Port of Mombasa serves Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, SouthSudan and Democratic Republic of Congo. The Lamu Port, which is beingconstructed in Kenya, can serve Kenya, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Uganda.Similarly, improving the capacity of the capacity of the Port of Djibouti meansimproving international trade in the region, including Ethiopia. The Port inDar es Salaam has also important role in facilitating international trade inthe region.

Africa also stands to benefit from theconstruction of these infrastructure networks in terms of employment andtransfer of technology, knowledge and skills as China deploys its skilled humanpower and high technological resources to these activities. The availability offinancial loans to many developing countries from the Silk Road Fund will helpexpedite construction of these countries’ infrastructures, which will, in turn,facilitate their accelerated economic development. China’s launching of theAsian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) was necessitated by Beijing’sfrustration with the sluggish governance structure of existing InternationalFinancial Institutions like the World Bank and IMF, a concern shared bydeveloping countries that have faced enormous red tape and unfairconditionalities in borrowing money.

The annual trade volume between Africa andChina currently stands at over 200 billion USD. The railway and road networksbeing constructed in Africa through China’s One Belt, One Road initiative, isset to maximize intra-African trade, boost its import-export and facilitate theintegration of the continent into the globe economy. This will,in the long run,contribute to the implementation of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 whichenvisions to achieve equitable and sustainable development, rule of law, andpeace and security in Africa through, among others, continent-wide transportinter-connectivity and enhanced trade.

The intense flurry of activities by China’smega corporations in the continent has led some critics to claim that “Africaoutsourced its growth to Beijing”. Others who see this relationship as a positiveinterdependence say that Africa needs China and that China needs Africa aswell.

 

Re-Silking-Globalization form the othercenter

The celebrated author ClaudioCioffi-Revilla argues that "the first true episode of exogenousglobalization began with the emergence of the Silk Road… by 200 BCE."The revival of the present Silk Road Economic Belt, therefore, means therevival of the ancient rudimentary to the hitherto dominant modernglobalization steered by the West. As a result of the” digital divide”, lack ofskilled human power and poor infrastructure, developing countries haveincreasingly been exclude from the economic benefits of globalization. On thecontrary, the embedded disequilibrium maximized the gains of the developedcountries. This had been the case with all western initiatives like thetrans-Atlantic slave trade, the Industrial Revolution, colonization,neo-colonization and the subsequent patronized democratization whosedevastating impacts got Africa at the receiving end.



So, should Africa be worried about newsurges and initiatives of globalization or embrace them selectively? Clearly,Africa would fare far better if it recognizes China’s Belt and Road initiativefor what it is, i.e., as the advent of yet another center of globalization (thistime emanating from and influenced by the rising east) as the second wave ofglobalization and not as mere infrastructural inroad. This clarity would enablethe continent to get better prepared to deal with it.

The continent needs, for instance, to investheavily in building feeder roads and other infrastructure in its deep interiorand eventually link them to the tentacles of the One Belt, One Road initiativeonce they reach its peripheries and coastal shores. This will help Africaexpeditiously mobilize and supply its exportable resources and receive itsimports.

Diversification, export competitiveness,productivity and technological upgrading are key for maintaining a strategicedge in global transaction. Some African countries are trying to unleash theirdevelopment potential through a prudent combination of market forces and stateintervention. Ethiopia particularly stands out for giving priority to launchingof manufacturing industries based on resource availability, labor intensitylinkages to agriculture, export potential and relatively low technologicalentry barriers. But, the average share of manufacturing in its contribution tothe Gross Domestic Product in Africa is just 10%, with some countries likeEthiopia scoring well below that (5%). So, Africa needs to embark on robustindustrialization to be able to reap maximum benefits from this newopportunity. This requires putting in place modern information and networkinginfrastructure capable of breaking into the complex global market system.

Africa needs to start massively buildingthe capacity of its human resources – help them developan aptitude for embracing of new knowledge and skills and make them becomeeffective communicators in preparation for deployment in the upcoming majorprojects related to the OBOR. To facilitate trade and knowledge transfereffectively, Africans also need to familiarize themselves with mandarin, thelanguage that has the largest speaker population in the world.

Governments in the continent are alsoexpected to enact favorable legislations or amend old ones with the aim ofaccommodating the advanced trade dealings that will come with therevitalization of the Silk Road. These may include, commercial code reforms,intellectual property rights protection, export credit guarantees, anti-graftlaws, among others. The continent is supposed to boost its regulatory capacityor seriously work to reconfigure itself to optimally employ existinginternational mechanisms like World Trade Organization (WTO) if it is tobenefit from fair dealings in the transaction that this China-led initiativespawns. Such a regulatory capacity would help guarantee quality assurance ofgoods and services, which are visibly lacking at present. African countriesneed to nurture strong governance to avoid giving in to pressure of theirstronger partner to absorb large amounts of debt relative to their GDP.

African countries can also tap into thehuge reservoir of much-needed foreign direct investment and loans fordevelopment by enhancing the absorption capacity and efficiency of theirinstitutions. Learning from the all too known encumbrances of the Breton WoodsInstitutions, namely the IMF and World Bank, African governments need to makegood use of the less stringent and fairer modalities of acquiring loans fromfinancial institutions like the Silk Road Fund and the Asian InfrastructureInvestment Bank (AIIB). Enhanced cooperation between the African DevelopmentBank, the AIIB and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) would serve this goal.African governments should push for a complete overhaul of the global taxsystem to ensure each company pays its fair share. Big corporations are gamingone nation’s taxpayers against another’s: we need a global deal to make thempay their way, says Nobel Laureate Economist Joseph Stiglitz.

 

Conclusion

Over the past years, the process ofglobalization has showed new features: international investment is increasingin scope and the major players of globalization have also changed with newtechnology and e-commerce. The approach by the new major player, China,characterized by de-politicization of the Belt and Road Initiative, will notonly help its buy-in among countries marginalized by the western-ledglobalization but also increase its effectiveness.

The Belt and Road Initiative, as a globalinvestment strategy reflecting new trends of globalization, is aimed atexploring a new model of international cooperation and global governance. Notdriven by ideological considerations, it is unique to all existing and pastsimilar initiatives like the Marshall Plan for rebuilding Europe right afterthe end of World War II. The initiative is hoped to contribute towardsfostering global peace, which Africa should work to benefit from in the mostoptimum way possible.