A ROUND-TABLE OF HOW NIGERIA CAN ENGAGE IN BELT AND ROAD INITIATIVE
In the more than five decades of Nigeria’s struggle for sustainable and inclusive development, there has been no such moment, as now, when there is an international framework of co-operation that aligns strategically to the compelling domestic requirement of the country to open a promising chapter on her modernization efforts.
While Nigeria, which is endowed with enormous human and martial resources, has struggled to convert these critical indices to trigger the enabling momentum for growth and development, she has largely been hobbled by the deficit of infrastructure and its all important component of strategic networks and connectivity.
It is this crucial denominator in any meaningful development plan, which has been sorely missed in Nigeria’s development agenda, that is now generously on offer in the new framework of international co-operation mechanism.
The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, were proposed in 2013 by Chinese President Xi Jinping with the explicit aim to draw from the robust economic activity, vigorous cultural exchanges and vibrant people to people contact that characterize the ancient silk roads that traversed Africa, Asia and Europe to the contemporary international cooperation in which infrastructural connectivity within and among nations would create a global community of common destiny.
Given the background of the present international system, which president Xi Jinping analyzed to have made great progress but also fraught with uncertainties and challenges, surely need a new framework of international co-operation that is broadly consultative, inclusive and focused on responding to the core question of the human conditions and the best ways to ameliorate its deplorable excesses especially in the developing countries.
The core of the Belt and Road Initiative is to construct the enabling infrastructural connectivity across the traditional ancient silk routes and beyond, with a view to recapture the spirit of its dynamism and vigor. The modern version of the silk roads would benefit from the accumulated wisdom and expertise in the past 2000 years since ancient Silk Road. In the particular case of Africa, the Belt and Road Initiatives align with the ten co-operation plans proposed by president Xi Jinping at the 2nd summit of the heads of state and government of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, FOCAC in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2015.