Could A Chinese Railway And A United East Africa Lead To U.S. Of Africa?

By Dana Sanchez Published: February 10, 2016, 3:11 pm

From GlobalResearch. Story by Andrew Korybko, an American political commentator working for the Russian news agency Sputnik.

The five-nation East African Community (EAC) of Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Tanzania plans to transition into a formal federation sometime in the near future, catapulting its significance from a regional to a global actor.

The integrational bloc is betting that its East African Railway Master Plan, partially financed and constructed by China, will not only do wonders for its own economic cohesiveness, but will stimulate broader sub-Saharan cooperation. The vision is that this strategic blueprint will link the prospective East African Federation (EAF) together with Ethiopia, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), with the ultimate goal being to bridge Africa’s transoceanic divide by connecting to the Atlantic Ocean via the Congo River and the modernization and expansion of existing railway infrastructure in Zambia and Angola.

Without the emergence of a coordinated geopolitical core to manage the region’s strategic infrastructural potential, China’s investments in East Africa might disappointingly fail in their forecasted multipolar function and never become anything more significant than a few scraps of steel.

The EAC plans to follow in the footsteps of other regional integrational organizations such as the EU, Eurasian Union, and ASEAN by tightening the relations between its members and formally becoming a factor in world politics. If it succeeds in forming a federation, then the newly consolidated unit would have enormous economic and geopolitical promise simply by means of its expanding population and favorable location alone.

These two critical factors are maximized when one recognizes that the countries which would constitute the EAF are located at the center of the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA), a proposed pan-continental economic space combining the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the EAC, and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

The EAF wouldn’t just be the gatekeeper of North-South trade within Africa, but of East-West trade between its Indian and Atlantic Ocean coasts as well, thus turning it into the continent’s most strategic geopolitical actor. Whereas the TFTA is essentially the 21st-century institutional iteration of the British Empire’s unfulfilled Cape to Cairo Railway, China’s transoceanic Silk Road vision for Africa is entirely unprecedented. The foundational concept exists in the East African Railway Master Plan, after which it is expanded via riparian and rail innovations in order to reach the Atlantic.

In all obviousness, the EAF’s centrally positioned location within this framework would make it the pivot state for the entire TFTA and allow it to control trade in either direction.

Read more at GlobalResearch.

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