Policy brief 3 by Lisa Thompson and Hazel Shirinda
INTRODUCTION: THE MUSINA MAKHADO METALLURICAL ZONE AND INCLUSIVE DEVELOPMENT
The core of China’s Foreign Policy in Africa strategy is setting up Special Economic Zones as part of the establishment of what is known as the Belt and Road Initiative. The BRI strategy of International Developmental Assistance (IDA) combines trade and infrastructural investment through low interest rate loans and Chinese private company and State-Owned Enterprise Assistance from China. This is marketed by China’s state leader Xi Jing Ping and top political leadership as a new Global South form of Inclusive Development that is both compatible and synergistic with UN sustainable development goals. Chinese mega-infrastructural road and rail projects are frequently linked to SEZ mega-projects.
The proposed Musina Makhado SEZ (MMSEZ) and its linkages to the upgrading of South Africa’s transport corridors to Durban, Richards Bay and into the SADC region, provides a perfect example of
this form of Inclusive Development. The expansion of BRI along with the establishment of the Chinese model of SEZs combines huge Foreign Direct Investment Incentives in the geographically designated Zones linked to technologically advanced rail and upgraded road networks. This is the main development strategy of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and is closely intertwined with the African Union’s Agenda 2063. The FOCAC driven vision of an integrated Africa, linked to Eurasia through Belt and Road, is the direct motivation for Cyril Ramaphosa’s promotion on the Musina-Makhado SEZ on his return from the FOCAC Summit in Beijing in September 2018.
According to FOCACs official Declarations, Inclusive Development is ‘people-centred’ and Chinese and African bilateral cooperation is characterised by ‘win-win’ projects of mutual benefit to both countries. Therefore, both IDA and Inclusive Development are positioned in direct contrast to Northern forms of Aid, where states in the …