(Yicai) Sept. 7 -- This year marks the 10th anniversary of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which has proved popular with the participating countries and will also have extraordinary vitality in the future.
“China’s Belt and Road Initiative emphasizes policy coordination, connectivity of facilities, unimpeded trade, financial integration and people-to-people bonds,” Lin Yifu, former World Bank senior vice president and honorary dean of Peking University’s National School of Development, said recently. “As a result, it has a strong appeal.”
Economic and trade cooperation under the initiative has directly boosted the growth of participating countries and helped to resolve their development bottlenecks. As a result, the participating countries highly appreciate the BRI, Lin noted, giving the example of the China-Laos Railway and the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway, for which China provided both funding and technology.
Since the BRI was proposed in 2013, the Chinese government has entered into agreements with 152 nations and 32 international organizations. Trade under the initiative has expanded to USD2.07 trillion with a yearly average growth of 8.6 percent, and the cumulative two-way investment has exceeded USD270 billion.
By the end of last year, Chinese companies had invested about USD57.1 billion in BRI participants and created 421,000 jobs locally. As per World Bank statistics, transport projects under the BRI framework are expected to boost global income by 0.7 percent to 2.9 percent by 2030, and will also lift 7.6 million people out of extreme poverty and 32 million out of moderate poverty.
Following in-depth communication with mainstream think tanks in developing countries, I believe that there are three key reasons to have confidence in the ongoing vitality of the Belt and Road Initiative.
Firstly, further promotion of the initiative will comply with the continuing BRICS expansion. Following the most recent expansion, an increasing number of countries have also expressed interest in joining the bloc, and BRICS members have been supportive of the BRI, so high-quality cooperation and development will continue in the next decade.
Secondly, trade in services will lead to more collaboration in the next decade for the initiative. The services sector is a key aspect of China’s opening-up process.
Thirdly, the Chinese economy will gain new opportunities for growth in its cooperation with countries participating in the initiative. Northwestern and southwestern provincial-level regions in China are set to benefit further, partly because they are also close to other countries in the initiative.
(The author is a researcher at the Shanghai Branch of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, under the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.)
Editor: Tom Litting