Episode 1 of the BRI Breakdown Series – What is the Belt and Road Initiative?
During two visits to Kazakhstan and Indonesia in 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping would formally announce the creation of his country’s vast global infrastructure development strategy known as the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road, which would later come to be known in English as the Belt and Road Initiative.
Put simply, the Belt and Road initiative aims to increase global and regional connectivity through infrastructure development, and it has become the centrepiece of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s foreign policy. The project has a targeted completion date of 2049 and will involve 68 countries representing over 65% of the world’s current population, and forty per cent of global gross domestic product as of 2017. The initiative is said to be larger in scope than President Harry Truman’s post-second world war Marshall Plan and will address an infrastructure gap across the Asia Pacific, Africa, Central Asia and Eastern and Central European regions, accelerating the economic growth of states in these areas.