China’s Xi to prioritize Belt and Road initiative

Written By: Eric Biegon in Beijing, China


Chinese President Xi Jinping has announced that his administration will inject significant resources to the One Belt One Road Initiative in his second term in office.

According to the Chinese leader, the 21st century Silk Road economic belt has been given much emphasis in the ongoing National Congress of the Communist party of China, CPC, in a bid to reinforce it for the benefit of its members.

While delivering his work report to the congregating delegates who were meeting at a congress that will mark the end of President Xi’s first term in office, the leader of the communist nation was categorical that “Openness brings progress, while self-seclusion leaves one behind.”

Among other things, the initiative, christened “the project of the century”, and which was officially launched in Beijing in May this year, prioritizes policy consultation, trade promotion, infrastructure connectivity, financial cooperation and people-to-people exchanges.

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“We should pursue belt and road initiative as a priority, give equal emphasis to “bringing in” and “going global” following the principle of achieving shared growth through discussion and collaboration, and increase openness and collaboration in building innovation capacity.”

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Africa was seen as one of the greatest beneficiaries of the initiative given the traditional problems of backward infrastructure, connectivity, lack of funds to finance projects and trade barriers.

Hours after the 3-hour address by the Chinese leader at the Great Hall of the People, delegates attending the congress retreated to various committees to discuss the report which detailed achievements of president Xi’s government in the last five years.  This was also an opportunity to dig and delve into his plans in the next 5 years.

In one of the committees where Chinese foreign affairs minister Wang Yi sat, delegates lauded the Beijing-based administration particularly for giving much focus to the OBOR initiative during president Xi’s first-term in office.

In their opinion, Belt and Road framework represents a clear and a beautiful vision that captures the aspirations of the Chinese people as a whole.

“OBOR is one of the most important initiatives by China. It demonstrates our determination for harmony and a win-win cooperation.” Said Minister Wang.

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Wang Yi disclosed that his country recognizes that more and more friends of China speak highly of the Chinese-led initiative and its idea of development.  He welcomed Xi’s pledge of more support to the initiative in the next five years saying this will demonstrate that China is positively and actively taking part in global affairs.

Situation in Kenya

It will be remembered that during the launch of the initiative in Beijing, President Xi announced that his regime had pumped an initial 100 Billion US dollars for cooperation projects in countries on the new Silk Road.

President Uhuru Kenyatta was among the 28 heads of states and governments who graced the occasion and later signed several pacts with China.

Kenya is now part of the Silk Road and expects to reap more benefits from its close ties with China. Already, with Chinese funding, Kenya has seen rapid progress in infrastructure development.

“For us, it is no longer a concept because already we have done infrastructure development to demonstrate that One Belt One road is underway.” Said Kenyatta.

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The Standard Gauge Railway, Kenya’s largest single infrastructural project, was made possible by funding from China. The SGR has already reached Nairobi and funding for the second phase has already been arranged with China.

The first SGR passenger train started operating on May 31, and has recorded tremendous improvement on passenger numbers that have hit more than 2,000 daily.

During the BRF Summit, President Xi reiterated that China’s mission is to promote shared prosperity and assured that China will never use its economic might to interfere with the sovereignty of other nations. He said China is in the business of sharing its prosperity with the rest of the world and is not interested in geopolitical games.

Proposed by President Xi Jinping in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative aims to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient Silk Road trade routes.

Twitter @EricBiegon

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