Global dignitaries lauded the pivotal role of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) ahead of the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, saying it has brought tangible benefits to participating countries and has played a pivotal role in improving the well-being of people.
The BRI was proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013. To mark the 10th anniversary of the initiative, the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation will be held in Beijing from Tuesday to Wednesday.
The forum will serve as an important platform for all partners to plan high-quality Belt and Road cooperation.
In an interview with China Media Group ahead of the forum, Kenyan President William Ruto discussed the significance of the BRI for Kenya and cited the Mombasa–Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) as some of the fruitful results of the BRI.
“I think from concept, they are now tangible projects, measurable outcomes that we can see. For example, in Kenya, the [Mombasa–Nairobi] SGR. When we were having a conversation about SGR, it looked far-fetched. Today, we have cargo, we have passengers on the SGR. We have real tangible outcomes out of the SGR. So, we have transited from the idea, the vision into reality. And we will be assessing our success, and what we have learned and how we can do things better going into the future, as we go for this third BRI conference in China,” said Ruto.
The Mombasa–Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway is a standard-gauge railway (SGR) in Kenya that connects the large Indian Ocean city of Mombasa with Nairobi, the country’s capital and largest city.
It is a flagship project within the framework of the BRI, creating more than 74,000 jobs and contributing over 2 percent to the East African country’s GDP.
Lao Deputy Prime Minister Kikeo Khaykhamphithoune also hailed the success of the initiative and its benefits for the two countries as well as the rest of the world.
“I highly appreciate the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by President Xi Jinping. The past ten years have proved the success of the initiative. It has brought many tangible benefits not only to the people of Laos and China, but also to all countries in the world,” said Khaykhamphithoune.
Ghada Waly, director-general of the United Nations Office at Vienna, said other countries can learn from Chinese experience through the Belt and Road forum in Beijing, and she hopes countries in the world can enhance dialogue and cooperation in order to address the challenges facing all human beings.
“The Belt and Road Initiative is an initiative that is investing in infrastructure, but it’s also increasing connectivity and it is bringing people-to-people knowledge. I think it’s important that there is learning that takes place from the Chinese experience to the other countries, and also South-South cooperation. I am looking forward to very enriching discussions [at the Belt and Road forum in Beijing]. And in the world we live in today, a very challenging and polarized world, the more we have opportunities for dialogue and international cooperation, the more we exchange experiences and best practice, the more we will learn and improve as a global community,” said Waly.
BRI, a reference to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, was initiated by China to build trade and infrastructure networks connecting Asia with Europe, Africa and beyond along the ancient Silk Road trade routes.
Over the past decade, over 150 countries and more than 30 international organizations have signed documents within the BRI framework.