UNITED NATIONS — The world economy remains flaccid now even eight years after the outbreak of the global economic and financial crisis, but China’s Belt and Road Initiative is conducive to efforts to revive the global economy, a senior UN official said.
Hong Pingfan, director of the Development Policy and Analysis Division in the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, said in a recent interview with Xinhua that the Chinese initiative contains many proposed measures of international cooperation to revitalize the world economy.
The essence of the initiative is an inclusive project open to all countries and international and regional organizations, he said.
The initiative has identified five priority areas for cooperation: policy coordination, facilities connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration and people-to-people bond, he noted.
The Belt and Road Initiative is set to promote win-win cooperation for shared development and prosperity, peace and friendship, through enhancing mutual understanding, trust, and exchanges, he said.
The initiative advocates peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit, he said. “It promotes cooperation in all fields, and works to build a community of shared interests, destiny and responsibility featuring mutual political trust, economic integration and cultural inclusiveness.”
China launched in late 2013 the initiative of jointly building the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, collectively known as the Belt and Road Initiative.
“The Belt and Road run through the continents of Asia, Europe and Africa, connecting the vibrant East Asia economic circle at one end and developed European economic circle at the other, and encompassing countries with huge potential for economic development,” he said.
Some 60 countries are along the Belt and Road, accounting for 60 percent of the world population, 30 percent of the world gross product, 40 percent of the world trade, and more than 50 percent of the population under the extreme poverty line.
“This represents a big challenge, but also a huge potential for development,” he said.
The Chinese initiative cannot only increase trade and investment in the countries along the Belt and Road, which is conducive to economic growth in these nations, but also help these countries expand their trade with other countries far away from the Belt and Road, he said.
The Chinese initiative can also play a very positive role in helping countries along the Belt and Road in their efforts to reduce poverty and boost infrastructure construction, he said.
“Economists have long considered that infrastructure investment enhances economic productivity,” Hong said.
“The impact of infrastructure investment on poverty reduction comes from at least two different channels: growth and income distribution,” he said.
As infrastructure investment makes positive contribution to economic growth, it reduces poverty through raising the overall living standards in the economy, he said.
Meanwhile, infrastructure can bring income distribution effect in favor of poor people by improving employment and earnings prospects as a result of growth in the non-agricultural sectors of the economy and by increasing productivity in both the agricultural and non-agricultural sectors, he said.