On the final day, leaders of 37 countries joined Chinese President Xi Jinping in signing a joint communique promising to work together as the BRI enters its next phase. This is a considerable step up from the inaugural forum in 2017, where 29 nations made such a pledge.
Key takeaways of the joint communique included calling for high-quality projects, urging investment in connectivity for developed nations, and ensuring that cooperation will be open, clean and green. This signals great intention for a mature and sustainable approach to infrastructure development and a demonstration of how we have progressed to 'BRI 2.0'.
Christine Lagarde said in her speech at the Belt and Road Forum, where she described the Belt and Road Initiative as a new phase of 'BRI 2.0', that: "The BRI is clearly having an impact. From stimulating infrastructure investment to developing new global supply chains, some of the promises of BRI are being realised."
A Broad Market
The Belt and Road Initiative has a grand vision and will be widely beneficial for the entire world. By connecting more than 65 countries across Europe, Asia and Africa – the BRI will cover 63 per cent of the world's population and 29 per cent of global GDP, and ultimately make it easier for goods and services to reach the growing middle classes whose disposable income is increasing.
A great deal of success has been achieved, as 126 countries and 29 international organizations have signed more than 170 cooperation agreements of various kinds under the framework of the initiative. Over the past six years, the total trade volume between China and the other participating countries has surpassed $6 trillion and 82 industrial parks have been established, creating nearly 300,000 local jobs.
Other significant results include Chinese enterprises investing over $90 billion in BRI countries between 2013 and 2018, with average annual growth of 5.2 percent. BRI countries invested over $40 billion in China over the same period.
BRI for the UAE
For the UAE, the Belt and Road Initiative is the centrepiece of our highly-valued bilateral relationship with China. This strategic relationship between our countries and our leaders covers bilateral agreements across many areas including: energy, business cooperation, economic, cultural, and political.
From the UAE perspective, the Belt and Road Initiative complements our worldview well, and our country shares the same beliefs in prosperity and economic sharing, in line with Chinese values. These values so clearly shine through the Belt and Road Initiative.
An Example of Cooperation
The UAE-China relationship and its successes provides a fine example of cooperation between China and countries in the Belt and Road Initiative. On the face of it, our two countries are quite different in almost every way — from the respective sizes of our countries, economy, culture, you name it. However, each country approaches each other as an equal and with mutual respect under the umbrella of the Belt and Road Initiative, with a business-focused approach.
There are numerous projects underway all around the world, with countless others in the planning and execution stage. The total value of projects in the scheme stands at US$3.67 trillion, spanning countries in Asia, Europe, Africa, Oceania and South America.
A Positive Model
The Belt and Road Initiative offers a positive model for international cooperation based upon a broad, principles-based approach. It is an idea and a platform instead of a treaty-based organisation. There are no restrictive treaties and standards set are reasonable. This works well for developing countries by offering a platform that is friendly, cooperative and without restrictive terms and conditions.
The BRI has a fresh and flexible approach, breathing new life and vitality into the global economy. This is underpinned by inclusiveness, collectivism and sharing which have bestowed the initiative with great practical significance.
This article was originally published in China Daily. The author is ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to China, H.E Dr. Ali Obaid Al Dhaheri. Views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.