In 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as an important initiative for international cooperation to enhance both China’s development and its cooperation with global partners.
Since its inception about six years ago, cooperation under BRI has seen major progress and proved more fruitful than planned. This initiative has received strong endorsement and warm support of the international community. A total of 124 countries and 29 international organizations have signed BRI cooperation documents with China, including 37 African countries.
At the global level, the BRI is well aligned with the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, thus forming a synergy of policies to promote global development.
At the regional level, the BRI connects regional development plans and cooperation initiatives such as the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity, Agenda 2063 of the African Union, the Eurasian Economic Union and the Europe- Asia Connectivity Strategy of the European Union, thus creating a synergy for improving connectivity and supporting economic integration among regions in the world.
The BRI has boosted global connectivity. Guided by the principle of consultation and cooperation for shared benefits and by enhancing connectivity in the five priority areas of policy, infrastructure, trade, finance and people-to-people ties, the BRI has given a strong boost to international cooperation on connectivity.
The BRI has delivered fruitful outcomes in boosting economic growth and improving people’s lives in participating countries. China and 43 countries have jointly built 82 economic cooperation parks, attracting close to 3,500 enterprises, creating as many as 300,000 employment opportunities and US$2 billion in tax revenue for host countries. The trade volume of goods between China and countries joining the BRI has surpassed 6 trillion US dollars.
China’s direct foreign investment to those countries has exceeded 80 billion US dollars.
The international platform for Belt and Road cooperation has been steadily strengthened. The BRF is the highest-level platform for Belt and Road cooperation where all parties concerned meet to build consensus and adopt plans for future cooperation. On a press conference during the Two Sessions this March, China’s State Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs H.E. Wang Yi talked about the Second Belt and Road Forum (BRF) for International Cooperation held in Beijing in April.
Mr. Wang said, “This year’s BRF themed as ‘Belt and Road Cooperation: Shaping a Brighter Shared Future’ aims to advance the Belt and Road cooperation to achieve development of higher quality. The number of participating heads of state and prime ministers exceed that of the first Forum in 2017. This BRF witnessed the presence of several thousand representatives from over 100 countries. Major events of the Forum included 12 thematic forums for promoting pragmatic cooperation and a CEO conference to build a platform for enterprises to connect and cooperate with one another”.
At this moment of the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, China is looking forward to strengthening bilateral cooperation mechanisms with African countries including Eritrea, reinforcing coordination of development policies, plans and initiatives under the BRI framework, and working together to constantly deepen China-Africa practical cooperation in various sectors.
(Mr. Yang Zigang, Chinese Ambassador to the State of Eritrea, April 18, 2019)