China’s “One Belt, One Road” Initiative
By admin June 12, 2017

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Chinese President Xi Jinping recently made a statement that the world should move towards an integrated global economy and away from protectionism. He emphasized the ‘One belt, One road’ initiative which uses billions of dollars of Chinese investment into building infrastructure along the Silk Road. Although many countries would benefit directly and indirectly from the initiative, Central Asia and East Africa are the two regions that hope to see the most in terms of economic development.

What is this ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative that China proposed? The plan was originally presented in 2013 by China to revive the economic prosperity that came from trade along the historic Silk Road centuries prior. The plan comes in two parts. First is to revive the trading routes from Asia to Europe, known as the Silk Road Economic Belt. This route would start in China, cut through Central Asia, go through Turkey on the way to Russia, and end in Europe. The second part of the plan would reinvigorate the Maritime Silk Road. It would once again start in China, go through Southeast and South Asia, head down to East Africa (with possible plans of being extended to South Africa), and finally head into Europe.

The initiative involves 68 countries, including all of Asia (excluding North Korea and Japan), most of Eastern Europe, and a few key countries in Africa. Although the majority of Africa is not part of the direct impact of the initiative, key countries such as Kenya, Ethiopia, Egypt, and South Africa will benefit from the bulk of the investment. However analysts believe other African countries will greatly benefit from the ripple effect that will occur from the enormous infrastructure projects. Recently the President of Kenya, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, and ministers from Egypt and Tunisia held a summit to discuss the ‘One Belt, One Road’ and how the region can take full advantage of China’s willingness to invest in infrastructure.

Although the initiative has received a favorable reaction from many developing countries, there has been some criticism as well both from countries involved in the project as well as countries not involved. Other BRIC countries have expressed reluctance to completely support the initiative with the fear that the current global order in trade will be replaced by a Sino centric once in which China will be the major player in controlling the flow of trade in Asia and Africa. In response, China has reaffirmed its position that development is key and this initiative is meant to be open for all countries to freely join and contribute.

The ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative is a break from the current protectionist and populist trend that has taken over the policies of major global trade partners such as the United States and Great Britain. Although funding from China and industrialized countries is important, the key to making this project a success lies within developing countries in Africa and Asia where the amount of resources allocated towards security will determine whether the Silk Road can truly be reinvigorated. Overall, China hopes to allocate more than $1 trillion in future funding to support the various development projects that will come out of the initiative with the ultimate goal of making China’s economic diplomacy center stage in an ever-changing world.

Read More:

Just what is this One Belt, One Road thing anyway?

What is China’s One Belt, One Road?

Where Africa fits into China’s massive Belt and Road initiative

Behind China’s $1 trillion plan to shake up the economic order

U.S. firms want in on China’s global ‘One Belt, One Road’ spending

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