Stronger advocacy needed on BRI initiative — Panellists

Panellists at a symposium in Accra on the Belt and Road Initiative(BRI) have called for a stronger advocacy on the benefits of the BRI to Ghana and other countries on the African continent.


Such advocacy, they said, should also include the need to design an effective communication strategy that would eradicate the misconception and bad publicity about the benefits of the BRI and what Ghana stood to gain from embracing the initiative to boost its infrastructure and economic development.

They equally stressed the need for the government to create an opportunity in the nation's foreign policy to enable the country to take full advantage of the opportunities that existed in the BRI.


The BRI, known within China as the One Belt One Road, is a global infrastructure development strategy adopted by the Chinese government in 2013 to invest in more than 150 countries and international organisations.

It is considered a centrepiece of the Chinese leader, Xi Jinping's, foreign policy.


The panellists at the symposium organised by the Ghana-China Friendship Association(GHACHIFA), who made the suggestion included the Managing Editor of the Insight, a private newspaper, Kwesi Pratt Jnr; the Commissioner, Head of Institution and Auditor General at the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Abuja, Nigeria, Dr Alfred Mahamadu Braimah, and the President of Ghana Association of Chinese Society, Hong Tang.

The rest were an Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) Lecturer, at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), Nana Opoku Osei-Sraha; an Architect and Mechanical Engineer on the Africa Railway Triangle Network Master Plan, Kwame Gonza, and the Executive Director, Africa-China Centre for Policy Advisory, Paul Frimpong.

It brought together civil society organisations, industrialists, staff of Chinese companies embarking on various projects under the BRI, 

New concept

Speaking on the topic for the symposium, “Belt and Road Initiative(BRI): Is Ghana missing out?”, Mr Pratt Jnr argued that there was the need for a new paradigm shift where Africans would own their resources and determine how it was exploited as opposed to what happened in the colonial era where the resources were virtually shipped to the colonial masters to better their economy.

He said this was the time “for us to intensify a new concept of infrastructure development to aid the economic and political development of the country and Africa”.

Mr Frimpong, for his part, indicated that considering the infrastructure gap that was required to be urgently fixed on the continent amounting to between $30 billion and $170 billion, it was prudent to embrace the BRI initiative.

He said critics of the BRI had made some developing countries to believe that the initiative was a “death trap policy" by China that would ultimately colonise beneficiary countries and confiscate their assets for failure to pay back loans given to the latter for infrastructural development.

Misconception, bad publicity 

An ICT lecturer, Nana Osei-Sraha, suggested that the nation’s leaders must be intentional by ensuring that Ghana's foreign policy created an opening to fully embrace the BRI initiative.

Private sector

The Head of Institution and Auditor General at ECOWAS in Abuja, Nigeria, Dr Braimah, who joined the discussions virtually, said apart from accepting the initiative, there was the need for government to also promote a public-private partnership to effectively deliver infrastructural facilities.

“The BRI dream is already on course and the World Bank has confirmed its benefits; it is a journey worth embarking on let's move forward as for the negativities they will always be there so we should not allow them to distract us" he advised.

An Architect and Mechanical Engineer, Mr Gonza, said Ghana was already enjoying the benefits of the BRI in terms of infrastructure and that it would not be prudent to pull out now because “infrastructure is the basis for economic development.”

GHACHIFA leadership

The Chairman of GHACHIFA, Ambassador Anani Demuyakor, and the General Secretary of the association, Dr Benjamin Anyagre, both stressed the importance of the symposium and the benefits of BRI.

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