Forum: China’s Silk Road Economic Belt: African perspectives and implications

  • Bob Wekesa Wits Journalism Department, University of the Witwatersrand Johannesburg, South Africa


This forum piece seeks to probe the connection between China and Africa regarding the current Chinese concept dubbed the “Silk Road Economic Belt”,  variously referred to by such synonyms such as “new Silk Road”, “Silk Road and Maritime Silk Road”, “Chinese and 21st-Century New Silk Road” and “Silk Road of the Sea”. What are the historical antecedents of the African dimension of this new Chinese zeitgeist? How is Africa featuring in the embryonic stages of this multifarious concept - one that has indeed been elevated to the heights of international relations policy levels? What are the historical, diplomatic, economic and cultural implications for Africa and what steps is China likely to take in the months and years ahead? How will Africans, especially African leaders and policymakers, respond to the anticipated implementation of the concept?  I conclude by posing a couple of forward looking issues including perspectives on how African leaders and policymakers might react to the Silk Road when its anticipated roll out in Africa begins.