In 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). To date, 149 countries and 32 international organizations have now joined the initiative in the spirit of win-win cooperation and the concept of building a community with a shared future for mankind.
As the well-known Chinese saying goes, “If you want to get rich, build a road first.” Since China adopted its reform and opening-up policy in 1978, it has experienced tremendous development in all major sectors. As part of the reform and opening-up policy, China has been developing viable transport alternatives. The recent China-Europe freight rail is an excellent example.
The fundamental necessity of advancing modern infrastructure in the forms of electrical power and modern transport systems, both road and rail, are the bottlenecks that need to be overcome in developing countries, to overcome global poverty.
At present, the problem with the traditional international financial institutions, in the West primarily, has failed to achieve the necessary infrastructure investment in developing countries in Africa, Latin America, and other parts of the world.
The BRI is the foundation for global development and the elimination of poverty. Since the launch of the BRI, new forms of international institutions have emerged to finance infrastructure development, such as the Asian Infrastructure Development Bank, the Silk Road Fund, and the BRICS New Development Bank. These are important alternatives to the existing insufficient financing of the present global system.
In my view, the BRI is a pathway that represents a bright future for mankind. The world has reached a point in which power struggles between countries and people will only bring about the destruction of everyone. The old formulas of geopolitical games lead eventually to no man’s land. Instead, nations working together for the common aims of peace and development must become a new chapter in mankind’s history. This is what the BRI provides, a whole new direction for cooperation between East and West.
The Global Development Initiative, another global public good proposed by President Xi last year, further complements the essence of the BRI. It further points out that China will work tirelessly with all countries to achieve the goals of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The progress of human society needs cross-cultural cooperation between Chinese and Western civilizations. This will set the cast for much deeper and profound cooperation. That deeper cooperation between nations and peoples will lead humanity to a new era of human progress and development. The BRI has put forward an opportunity for cooperation that would be mutually beneficial to Sweden and Europe.
Founded in 2018, the Belt and Road Institute in Sweden (BRIX) is a non-profit organization with the purpose to enlighten the significance and benefits of the BRI and promote cooperation between Sweden and China.
The author is the Chairman of the Belt and Road Institute in Sweden (BRIX).