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African countries to benefit from China’s “Belt and Road”

China’s Belt and Road initiative will benefit plenty of African countries. The development strategy that focuses on connectivity and cooperation westward by land and by sea, experts say.

In an interview with Xinhua in Lagos, Nigeria Wednesday, Akeem Owolabi, an international financial expert, said Beijing’s ambitious strategic move will be contributing to the growth of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises in Africa.

He said the Belt and Road initiative indicates China is looking for new channels to sustain its growth at a time when its developing neighbours have rapidly rising demand.

Nigeria should exploit the opportunity China is providing to improve the nation’s economy, Owolabi, who is also a former university lecturer, told Xinhua.

According to him, China’s top priority is to stimulate the domestic economy via exports from industries with major overcapacity, a move Nigeria should tap into as price of crude oil, its main source of income, is dwindling.

Agriculture, manufacturing, processing and service industry should be producing the bulk of the Nigeira’s revenue, he added, noting China had succeeded in these areas.

“China has developed from a poor inward-looking agricultural country to a global manufacturing powerhouse,” said the expert.

“For 180 million people (in Nigeria) wishing to have higher standard of living, higher quality of life, the emphasis for us is to look inward and think beyond oil,” he said, adding Nigeria “must be open to the world and decide to go back to good governance and transparency so as to reduce corruption and create a better life for the mass.”

The Belt and Road initiative comprises both the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, with visions to connect Asian, European and African countries more closely and promote mutually beneficial cooperation.

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