Guinea-Bissau Joins The Belt And Road Initiative
By Chris Devonshire-Ellis
The small West African, Atlantic ocean nation of Guinea-Bissau has signed an MoU with China to join the Belt And Road Initiative.
The MOU was signed on November 22 by the Chinese Ambassador to Guinea-Bissau Guo Ce and Suzi Carla Barbosa, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Guinea-Bissau, China’s National Reform and Development Commission have said. To date, China has signed more than 200 BRI cooperation documents with 142 countries and 32 international organizations.
The country covers 36,125 square kilometres, with an estimated population of 1,874,303, and like China’s Macau, was once part of the Portuguese Empire before gaining independence in 1973. The national GDP is about US$3.4 billion (PPP) with a GDP per capita of about US$2,000. The economy depends mainly on agriculture; fish, cashew nuts and ground nuts are its major exports. However, there is potential for tourism and fishing, while its Ports can also be developed. China has committed to build a US$184 million bio-mass plant in the country, and has undergone several redevelopment projects in the country, including US$48 million to renovate the antiquated telecommunications system and highway construction, while also being active in the logging sector and deepwater fisheries and potentially oil exploration.
Guinea-Bissau is a member of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) which has eliminated border tariffs between African nations. That means pan-African sourcing can take place with goods consolidated into one area for processing and assembly. A Special Economic Zone to assist with this is currently being established in the capital city, Bissau, which has port facilities.