Windhoek-China having recently hosted several global leaders at the Maritime Silk Project, a Beijing initiative to boost global trade, has backed up its grandiose scheme with colossal funding to the tune of US$124 billion for roads, railways and bridges among other infrastructure.
Chinese President Xi Jinping announced at the opening of the two-day gathering that China will invest US$124 billion in the massive global trade project – the Belt and Road Initiative that envisions the creation of a land-based Silk Road Economic Belt and sea-based Maritime Silk Road as the Asian economic giant strives to encourage international trade.
“Over 2,000 years ago, our ancestors, trekking across vast steppes and deserts, opened the transcontinental passage connecting Asia, Europe and Africa, known today as the Silk Road. Our ancestors, navigating rough seas, created sea routes linking the East with the West, namely, the maritime Silk Road. These ancient silk routes opened windows of friendly engagement among nations, adding a splendid chapter to the history of human progress. The thousand-year-old ‘gilt bronze silkworm’ displayed at China’s Shaanxi History Museum and the Belitung shipwreck discovered in Indonesia bear witness to this exciting period of history,” stated Xi.
He reminisced the silk-road initiative has spanned thousands of miles and years and that “the ancient silk routes embody the spirit of peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit. The Silk Road spirit has become a great heritage of human civilization.”
“History is our best teacher. The glory of the ancient silk routes shows that geographical distance is not insurmountable. If we take the first courageous step towards each other, we can embark on a path leading to friendship, shared development, peace, harmony and a better future,” he stated.
Humankind has reached an age of great progress, great transformation and profound changes, he said, adding: ”In this increasingly multi-polar, economically globalized, digitized and culturally diversified world, the trend toward peace and development becomes stronger, and reform and innovation are gaining momentum. Never have we seen such close interdependence among countries as today, such fervent desire of people for a better life, and never have we had so many means to prevail over difficulties.”
“I have said on many occasions that the pursuit of the Belt and Road Initiative is not meant to reinvent the wheel. Rather, it aims to complement the development strategies of countries involved by leveraging their comparative strengths. We have enhanced coordination with the policy initiatives of relevant countries, such as the Eurasian Economic Union of Russia, the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity, the Bright Road initiative of Kazakhstan, the Middle Corridor initiative of Turkey, the Development Road initiative of Mongolia, the Two Corridors, One Economic Circle initiative of Vietnam, the Northern Powerhouse initiative of the UK and the Amber Road initiative of Poland,” he said.
“We should build an open platform of cooperation and uphold and grow an open world economy. We should jointly create an environment that will facilitate opening up and development, establish a fair, equitable and transparent system of international trade and investment rules and boost the orderly flow of production factors, efficient resources allocation and full market integration. We welcome efforts made by other countries to grow open economies based on their national conditions, participate in global governance and provide public goods. Together, we can build a broad community of shared interests,” stressed the Chinese leader.
The Belt Road Project is designed to facilitate the development of major trade routes across multiple continents, will all the roads leading back to China.