Recent development economic literatures theorize that South-South trade and foreign investment may have a larger impact on economic growth in devel-oping economies than North-South trade and investment, since investors from the South are more familiar with local developing markets and business practices, which increases their productivity spillovers (Aykut and Goldstein 2007). Amighini and Sanfilippo (2014) provided evidence that South-South trade and investments stimulate product diversification in light manufacturing industries such as agro-processing, plastic, textile and leather production.
The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) launched in 2013, aims to create economic opportunities as well as improve and establish new trading routes between China and connected regions. This paper attempts to evaluate the degree of trade relations between China and selected African countries along the Mari-time Silk Route (MSR) and further appraise the trade potentials and gains in-herent for African economies through the initiative. To achieve our objective, we apply quantitative techniques in trade evaluation to enable us explore and estimate the degree and intensity of trade engagements amongst selected Si-no-African silk route countries, identify the trade opportunities and potentials, which are critical for increased trade engagements between both parties along the route and to explore some of the channels through which the maritime route can impact on investment, trade and economic growth in Africa.
Findings from the analysis indicate that while the degree of trade integration is unbalanced and favourable to China relative to Africa, the trade pattern and structure are observed to be more complementary than competitive, and this provides Africa with ample opportunity to engage in product upgrading and diversification, critical for structural transformation.