Conference: Asia and Africa in Transition

NEW DATES: 28-30 June 2021

Panel: Asian partners in the transition of ports in Africa

Convener: Annette Skovsted Hansen, Japan and Global Studies, Aarhus University

The panel encourages discussion of the dynamic relations between Africa and Asia inspired by the New Nexus of Knowledge conferences in Accra and Dar es Salaam in 2015 and 2018, respectively. The panel will initiate the discussion by presenting the case of how Asian partners and Ghanaian public and private stakeholders engage each other and other international partners in a quest to make Tema Port in Ghana the hub on the West African coast. The Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has supported the Trade and Transportation Ministry with loans and grants for decades and, therefore, sends representatives to the internal monthly meetings. In 2004, JICA prepared a master plan with the port of Tema as a node in a larger West African Growth Ring Corridor (WAGRIC)? Since then other international and Ghanaian partners have bid and been parties to the execution of various parts of the plan. JICA has also supported smaller sections such as road expansions and key intersections in the grid to avoid traffic congestion. South Korean labor and new investments play a role. China has invested in and constructed rail- and highways and in the port of Tema itself, the Ghanaian government, Danish APM, and French Bolloré cooperation Millennium Port Services (MPS) hired a Chinese port construction company to construct their new terminal, which opened on time July 2019, and has bought the world’s largest cranes from China. We are open to any discussion to which this may lead, but we propose to ask the following initial questions for debate: How do African governments negotiate different international partners and how do different Asian actors complement other international actors? – In concrete cases and in discourses on aid and infrastructure in Africa?