The Belt and Road Initiative’s Eastern Africa Node: Survey of Economic, Demographic and Security Motivations

33 Pages Posted: 3 Mar 2022

See all articles by Lauren A. Johnston

Lauren A. Johnston

University of Adelaide

Joseph Onjala

Department of Economics, Population and Development Studies

Date Written: January 4, 2022

Abstract

In 2013 China launched the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), including in Indonesia a “Twenty-first Century Maritime Silk Road (Road)” that crosses the Indian Ocean (IO) and continues up into the Mediterranean. For Africa this produced an early Eastern focus for which there has been no official explanation, leaving room for uncertainty and speculation around China’s intent. In contrast to suggestions the BRI has no coordinated logic, this article surveys the related literature and derives three angles from which China’s early BRI focus on Eastern Africa may be understood: 1) economic, 2) demographic and 3) security. Understanding the early implicit geographic focus from these narratives offers a potentially useful development and economic policy window via which scholars and practitioners alike can scope the BRI and China-Africa relations.

Keywords: Belt and Road Initiative, China, Maritime Silk Road, Washington Consensus, growth, economic development

JEL Classification: J11, F43, F01, F02  

Suggested Citation

Johnston, Lauren A and Onjala, Joseph, The Belt and Road Initiative’s Eastern Africa Node: Survey of Economic, Demographic and Security Motivations (January 4, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4000937 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4000937

Lauren A Johnston (Contact Author)

University of Adelaide ( email )

No 233 North Terrace, School of Commerce
Adelaide, South Australia 5005
Australia

Joseph Onjala

Department of Economics, Population and Development Studies ( email )

4139-40200
Nairobi, 40200
Kenya

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