China in Africa: win-win development, or a new colonialism?

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The tiny fishing village of Bagamoyo is set to become Africa’s largest port in a $10bn Chinese development. Are locals right to be optimistic?

As their hand-built wooden dhow approaches the shore, Ibrahim Chamume and his fellow fishermen take in the sail and prepare to sell their catch to the small huddle of villagers waiting on the white sand. He has been making a living like this on the Indian Ocean since he was 14. His father was a fisherman, too.

Now in his 30s, Ibrahim says earning enough from traditional fishing is tough, but has its compensations. There is the view across the tranquil lagoon to the mangrove swamps; the unspoiled beaches and bays; the lush vegetation and smallholdings growing maize, cassava, cashews and mango. Such scenes must have played out in the tiny Tanzanian village of Mlingotini for centuries.

China’s Belt and Road Initiative is a huge, $1tn infrastructure project to better connect China – and Chinese goods – with the rest of the world. It is meant to be a 21st-century “silk road”, made up of a “belt” of overland corridors (including roads, bridges and railways) and a maritime “road” of shipping lanes.

Related: What is China’s Belt and Road Initiative?

Related: Follow the New Silk Road

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Source: china
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