Politics and International Relations
This paper does not underestimate the economic impact of China’s “Silk Road” so-called Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in terms of transportation infrastructures along Asia and Africa, nor does India and Japan Asia–Africa Growth Corridor (AAGC) overlook the proclaimed sustainable role to materialize Japan’s Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy (FOIP). One can even say that both approaches are well intentioned, as through facilitating Africa’s defragmentation, which is the idea of deep integration and greater connectivity via infrastructures networks, they expect to boost Africa’s global integration. The problem is that if their connectivity is not adequately addressed, disruptive development effects may arise for the countries involved. It asks whether China`s BRI and Japan’s FOIP initiatives are an inclusive model of economic cooperation, geo-politically and commercial proactive, or instead, they embrace the contradictions of globalization as a destructive and hegemonic force. One argues that the simple connectivity of economic growth poles linking major sea ports (China) or development of port facilities (Japan) within regions without addressing the people’s needs in all vectors is insufficient. Theoretically, it draws on the new regionalism approach as it best highlights the relationship between globalization and regionalization connectivity approaches. Methodologically, a qualitative analysis is used to compare the gaps between hard and soft aspects of the infrastructure projects of China and Japan in East Africa northern corridor. It finds that not only BRI has few concrete connectivity hard-to-soft infrastructure projects than Japan, but also the feasibility and ownership of China’s projects compared to Japan’s seems debatable.