Beijing—”The Belt and Road Initiative brought up by China will help countries along their routes walk out of crises and be prosperous again,” said Seylbek Musataev, a professor with Al-Farabi Kazakh National University, during a recent media interview.
Many countries have expressed strong interest in participating in the Belt and Road construction, and the number of countries echoing the initiative is increasing, said the professor.
According to the expert, there are many similarities between China’s Belt and Road Initiative and Kazakhstan’s “Bright Road” new economic policy proposed by President Nursultan Nazarbayev, as both are laying great emphasis on infrastructure construction.
The Belt and Road Initiative, proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt that links China with Europe through Central and Western Asia by inland routes, and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road connecting China with other Asian countries, Africa and Europe by sea routes. It is a development strategy and framework that focuses on inter-connectivity and cooperation among countries primarily in Eurasia.
In recent years, within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, Kazakhstan and China have jointly implemented some construction projects of transportation, and have built schools, hotels, hospitals and enterprises along the route of the Belt, promoting development of local commerce and economy, said Musataev.
Kazakhstan’s Khorgos Eastern-Gate land port is now open, with cargoes from China and other Asia Pacific countries passing through the port and entering Russia and Europe, bringing huge economic benefits to Kazakhstan, Musataev told Xinhua.
In 2015, the number of container shipments from China to Europe via Kazakhstan increased remarkably, reflecting positive results from the two countries’ joint efforts in promoting the development of the Belt and the Road, he added.
Meanwhile, China and Kazakhstan have been cooperating actively with each other in the construction of the Western Europe-Western China international transit corridor.
The renovation of the section of the corridor within the territory of Kazakhstan is almost completed, and the whole transit line crossing Kazakhstan is expected to open to traffic in 2017.
The World Bank estimated that the launch of the corridor will increase the volume of freight traffic by 2.5 times, and vehicle maintenance and repair alone could bring in revenues of some 300 million U.S. dollars to the countries along the corridor.
Meanwhile, new enterprises and ancillary facilities will be built along the transit line, which is expected to bring local people a large number of employment opportunities.
Musataev believed that the Belt and Road construction will have a positive effect on the price and quality of the country’s imports.
The price of imported products in Kazakhstan’s market would begin to drop, Musataev said, adding that local manufacturers must strive to improve the quality of their products in a bid to win consumers.
The professor also pointed out that the Belt and Road Initiative is quite welcome among the youth of the country.