BRI at 8 and future prospects
WHILE addressing a high-level symposium on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) Chinese President Xi Jinping’s has devised a new holistic approach and comprehensive policy for high-quality Belt and Road cooperation.
During his keynote speech President Xi Jinping set out a new vision for the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and projected its high-standard, sustainable and beneficial advancement to public well-being and support developing nations in going green and low-carbon in their energy sectors.
President Xi shared that, primarily, China initiated the concept of BRI for cooperation on interconnectivity and created new opportunities for international cooperation.
Xi, the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, stressed the importance of striving to attain a higher level of cooperation, higher investment efficiency, higher quality of supply and greater resilience in the growth of the initiative.
China has signed cooperation documents on jointly building the Belt and Road with 172 countries and 32 international organizations since the BRI was proposed by Xi in 2013.
Xi pinpointed that, with the dawn of scientific and technological revolution and industrial revolution has increased fierce competition and climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic exerting an unprecedented influence on humanity, the international environment for the BRI is becoming increasingly complex.
He urged to take steps to further enhance land, maritime, air transport and internet interconnectivity with steps to deepen cooperation in both traditional and new types of infrastructure programs and to lift the level of alignment in rules and standards.
He stressed the need to have unimpeded trade flows with neighbouring countries, encourage imports of more high-quality products and improve the level of trade and investment liberalization and facilitation.
He upheld the necessity to continue expanding cooperation in three-party or multiparty markets and conduct more cooperation on production capacity adding that participation by multilateral development agencies and financial institutions from developed nations should be encouraged.
In this connection he pinpointed that for the further strengthening of cooperation in new areas such as health, green development, digitalization and innovation, adding that China should continue to do its best to help nations participate in the BRI to fight the pandemic.
He promoted the green transition of developing nations, through information sharing and capacity building in green and low-carbon development and to deepen ecology, environment and climate governance cooperation.
Xi highlighted the need to deepen digital cooperation, develop Silk Road e-commerce and formulate a pattern for digital cooperation, adding that international cooperation in intellectual property rights protection must be scaled up.
He called for heightened efforts to ensure stable industry and supply chains and promote the diversification of sources.
In this context, he suggested to explore the establishment of an all-weather early warning and evaluation service platform for risks faced by its overseas programs to enable timely risk warning and evaluation on a regular basis.
It’s been eight years since Chinese President Xi Jinping announced Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in 2013.
He first proposed the Silk Road Economic Belt in Kazakhstan in September 2013. Since then, over 200 cooperation agreements/MoUs have been signed with 172 countries and international organizations.
This resulted in $9.2 trillion in cumulative trade and $130 billion in Chinese foreign direct investment in BRI.
Many experts termed BRI as project of the century which provides win-win befitting proposition for the participating countries.
During the past eight years, participating countries have gained sustainable benefits under the BRI, Pakistan has improved its infrastructure, drastically reduced its energy deficit, geared up massive industrialization and generated employment opportunities.
BRI has now become engine of growth and modernization of the economic and developmental infrastructure of many member countries through cooperation, the exchange of benefits and common interests.
Moreover, the BRI has become a popular platform for international cooperation and has continuously supported African countries to improve infrastructure, including transportation and electricity.
It has become icon of health, green development, digital industry. Moreover, the BRI actually breaks the shackles of the western zero sum model and promotes cooperation and collaboration and common prosperity and development.
The lack of responsible American leadership has created an opportunity for China to showcase alternative model of regional as well as international sustainable economic development and greater socio-economic integration in the shape of BRI which consequently supported much-needed multipolar world. It has digital, financial and health dimensions of partnerships.
It plans to create a community of common destiny for mankind by responsibly reforming irreversible globalization processes for a more balanced, equitable and optimal development process and opportunities for all.
BRI is pioneered by the People’s Republic of China which is the 2nd largest economy of the world and is much different from the prior model of globalization that was spearheaded by developed nations in the West.
BRI-led international development model is completely different from the West. It is anti-imperialist which economically liberates enslaved and discriminated people through voluntary agreements between all parties.
For the last eight years, BRI has been mutually beneficial for all the involved parties due to which living standards have been further improved among the member countries.
Global South partners as bilateral trade increases, Chinese connectivity investment unlocks those countries’ full economic potential and training programs empower their citizens.
Predictions of an African century to accompany the already discussed Asian century are entirely due to the impact of the BRI which merely focus on expanding South-South partnerships and represents a milestone in the history of globalization.
Western countries occupied and colonized almost all non-Western people with a very few exceptions.
To conclude, it has been eight years since its inception and activation, but BRI has already changed the world.
It has become more than a network of comprehensive partnerships led by the world’s largest developing nation and nowadays akin to a vision of the future for many.
It inspires the majority of the world’s people to work towards a better, more balanced and equitable future. BRI precisely showcases a truly democratic model of socio-economic development.
It seems that China will encourage the construction of green infrastructure in participating countries of the BRI to foster sustainable and high-quality development of the global economy.
China has now focused on promoting green and low-carbon energy in markets along the Belt and Road and developing efficient, clean and renewable energies such as gas, solar, wind power, hydropower and nuclear power.
—The writer is Director, Geopolitics/Economics, Regional geopolitical expert of China, CPEC & BRI.