Thursday, May 30, 2024

Belt and Road Initiative: A Road of Prosperity for the New Era

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Diplomat Magazine
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DIPLOMAT MAGAZINE “For diplomats, by diplomats” Reaching out the world from the European Union First diplomatic publication based in The Netherlands. Founded by members of the diplomatic corps on June 19th, 2013. "Diplomat Magazine is inspiring diplomats, civil servants and academics to contribute to a free flow of ideas through an extremely rich diplomatic life, full of exclusive events and cultural exchanges, as well as by exposing profound ideas and political debates in our printed and online editions." Dr. Mayelinne De Lara, Publisher

By Eleni Bampaliouta

In 2013, President Xi Jinping put forward the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). After a decade of development, the BRI has effectively promoted economic integration and interconnected development, and delivered benefits to all. It has laid down a pathway toward mutual benefit, win-win outcomes, prosperity and development in an age rife with turbulence and change.

The BRI shines the light of development and provides new impetus for global development. Development holds the master key to solving all problems and is a timeless theme for humanity. The BRI, focusing on development which best serves the common interests of all countries, has provided a platform for development with great inclusiveness, and promoted the common development and prosperity of all countries around the world. From 2013 to 2022, the total value of China’s trade in goods with key Belt and Road partner countries grew at an average annual rate of 8.6 percent, and the two-way investment exceeded USD 270 billion. Newly signed contracts of projects are worth over USD 1.2 trillion, and an array of infrastructure projects including roads, bridges and ports have come into commission, further promoting land, maritime, air and cyberspace connectivity.

The Belt and Road cooperation is not a solo performance, but a symphony played by all. The BRI has effectively synergized development strategies and practical demands among partners, and has helped partner countries transform their own advantages into tangible fruits of development. Over the past decade, overseas cooperative industrial parks including Thailand-China Rayong Industrial Zone and Ethiopia’s Eastern Industry Zone have flourished, serving as a catalyst for local industrialization and modernization. The World Bank estimates that by 2030, Belt and Road cooperation will bring an annual benefit of USD 1.6 trillion to the world, accounting for 1.3 percent of the global GDP and injecting strong impetus into global development.

The BRI shines the light of happiness and makes new contributions to people’s well-being. The people are the foundation of a state. When the foundation is strong, the state will be secure. Improving people’s livelihood has become another distinctive feature of the BRI. Over the past ten years, the BRI has helped lift nearly 40 million people out of poverty and created paths toward opportunity and prosperity for the local people. A large number of “small yet smart” livelihood programs such as schools, hospitals and stadiums have been put in place one after another, and more and more people are living a better life with a greater sense of happiness and benefit.

The China-Europe Railway Express completed over 15,000 freight services, serving as a health train delivering medical supplies during the pandemic. In January this year, the China-aided African Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) headquarters, the first CDC in Africa featuring modern office facilities and high-end laboratories, was successfully handed over. Facing the global food crisis, China and its BRI partners have been actively engaged in agricultural cooperation and popularized hybrid rice, Juncao and other practical technologies, making positive contributions to ensuring food supply for the local people.

The BRI shines the light of hope and opens up new prospects for common prosperity. The U.N. 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is now encountering difficulties in its implementation, and the development gap keeps widening. Countries around the world have a stronger aspiration for development and cooperation. Many developing countries have seized the momentum of the BRI and got on board the express train of China’s development. As we accelerate the development of the health Silk Road, the digital Silk Road, the green Silk Road and the Silk Road of innovation, more opportunities for cooperation will be created. This will open up broader prospects for industrial upgrading, energy transformation and innovative development in those countries.

Talents are the most important asset that secures a bright future. Under the framework of Belt and Road cooperation, China has vigorously carried out relevant talent exchange activities and research cooperation. With the help of Luban Workshops, China has put in place vocational workshops in more than 20 countries to provide vocational and technical training for local young people, boosting the internal growth drivers of relevant countries.

The third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation will soon be held in Beijing. It will be the grandest event to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the BRI, and an important platform for all parties to discuss high-quality Belt and Road cooperation. We hope that all parties, standing on the new starting point, will make the pie of development increasingly bigger, so as to provide solid support for people’s well-being and create more opportunities for economic growth. In doing so, we will usher in another wonderful decade on this road of global prosperity.

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