China seems to have taken quite an interest in Mozambique, a nation carrying rich Hydrocarbon resources and holding strategic importance due to its location in the South-eastern Africa. Because of its long coastline, China has been using the Mozambique channel to enter Zambia and Zimbabwe over the past few years. And in the process has been developing rail and road infrastructures across Mozambique to ease transportation of equipment and materials.
The Maputo Ring Road, which is considered to be one of Mozambique’s main national highways, consisting of six bridges and three interchanges was heavily developed and funded by China’s Exim Bank by investing over US $ 315 million, despite the length of the road being just 74km. Over the years, China has continued to take on major construction projects across Africa. Like in this case, Exim Bank of China was fully funded by China Road and Bridge Corporation (CBRC).
As per reports, another project featuring a 14-storey-tower, consisting of a high-tech conference centre, game room and even a supermarket dedicated to Chinese products has been given to Maputo AFECC Gloria Hotel (Costadsol) in collaboration with the Government of Mozambique and the AFECC Group (Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Group, lda), which is the entity of China. And not just this, the AFECC has also taken up another project to build a modern office building with office complexes, conference rooms and international facilities in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Mozambique. A project worth 100 million Yuan, experts have pointed out the facility being developed to be used as the centre of Chinese espionage and surveillance.
And it is not just construction, China is also investing around $ 60 million to develop Xai-Xai Chongoene Airport in Chongoene City. Taken over by company China Aviation International Construction and Investment Company Limited, the project looks after advertising and marketing efforts outside of passenger terminals such as terminal construction, airport access roads, and parking lots / gardens.
It should not come as a surprise that China shall end up developing a military base in the country to protect its investments, while practicing economic control.
As per a statement by Pradeep Mehta, Secretary General of CUTS (Consumer Unity and Trust Society), who has an extensive knowledge and network across Africa has quoted, “Having a second naval base in Africa allows China to prepare for any contingency on the Suez Canal and to have the prescription for Hu Jintao’s “Malaka Dilemma.” African countries should be aware that such bases can pose a great risk, such as crushing grass when two elephants fight.”
As per reports, the Chinese mining company Dingsheng has invested about $ 400 million with the aim to export at least 2 tonnes of titanium by developing heavy sand treatment plants in Mozambique’s Sibut area, simultaneously developing the ports and railroads. Dingsheng International Investment Co. Ltd. is basically China Anhui Foreign Economic (Group) Co. Ltd., which is in charge of construction, management and operation of the Manga-Mungassa Special Economic Zone on the outskirts of Beira. This special economic zone is being planned to be developed over 217 hectares in the first phase with plans to be expanded over 1,000 hectares in future. The project looks at an investment over US $ 500 million that covers processing, manufacturing, packaging and logistics.
Stocks And Education
Apart from construction and import, China has also started buying shares in Barclays Africa with the aim of acquiring a Portuguese bank in Mozambique. China has also developed the Confucius Institute, which depicts Chinese architecture at the famous Eduardo Mondlane University in Mozambique.
Following the trend across Africa, China has become the largest bilateral creditor of Mozambique at $ 2.2 billion. And apart from being the member of the Maritime Silk Road initiative, Mozambique is also the first African country that has signed a global strategic partnership cooperation and agreement with China.
The appropriate question should not be ‘If’, but “By when is China planning to develop a military base in Mozambique?”