One Belt and One Road initiative is good for Africa - Amb. Kayonga

by Linda Olson May 16, 2017, 9:18

Xi said China's Belt and Road plan would be open to all. No Indian official of any level was present at the elaborate opening ceremony attended by 29 heads of state and government along with top officials of the world bodies like the United Nations, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

The Belt and Road initiative has as one of its aims the "balanced and sustainable development" of countries along the trade routes.

The trade volume between China and other Belt and Road countries from 2014 to 2016 exceeded $3 trillion, and China's investment in these countries has surpassed $50 billion. The fund is a state-owned investment vehicle of the Chinese government created to foster increased investment in countries along its planned economic corridors.

"We should jointly create an environment that will facilitate opening up and development, establish a fair, equitable and transparent system of worldwide trade and investment rules", Mr Xi said.

The two-day meeting included Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russian Federation and Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and presidents or prime ministers from Italy, Hungary, Greece, Kenya and most of China's Asian neighbors but no major Western leaders.

Two Chinese banks will also set up lending schemes valued at 380 billion yuan ($55 billion) to support the initiative, Xi said. Most are financed by loans from Chinese state-owned banks but officials have expressed hope projects can attract private investors.

As India on Sunday skipped China's Belt and Road forum to oppose the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Islamabad and Beijing vowed to conclude the contentious economic route.

"This is an event that has been organized by the Chinese to focus on the Belt and Road Initiative".

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German Economy Minister Brigitte Zypries called for transparency to ensure that the calls for investment bids are "non-discriminatory".

He added that the initiative would open up Rwanda to the world more than ever before.

The two-day Belt and Road Forum which is being attended by leaders from 29 countries, including Pakistan, has been boycotted by India due to sovereignty concerns over the Dollars 50 billion CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor), which passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

The US came in for thinly veiled criticism from leaders of European countries and worldwide organisations, who complained about the trend towards trade protectionism. It envisions two components: the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road that are expected to cover more than 60 percent of the world's population and more than one-third of the global economic output.

The project " a belt road" is the reflection of our quest for a common development.

"In my view, Belt and Road is meant to create greater economic interdependence between China and its neighbours, which Beijing hopes will translate into increased political influence", said Bonnie Glaser, director of the China Power Project at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.

"This is a continuation of Chinese non-interference", Economist Suman Bery said.

"India's absence at the Forum only showed that India doesn't like China's status in today's world, doesn't accept China's high-profile in the global arena", Long Xingchun, director of the Center for Indian Studies at China West Normal University, said.


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