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Today's Feature

 

Understanding 'One Belt, One Road' - its simplicity and its grandeur

1709

THE "One Belt, One Road" initiative is emerging from the bureaucratic smog of Beijing into something more discernible, at times taking on the appearance of simple grandeur once one appreciates its implications.

Inspired by 14th century Venetian merchant traveller Marco Polo's Silk Road from China, the one "belt" means the landbridge, which has been growing in fits and starts, and "road" represents the old well-travelled sea route.

The aim is to achieve greater connectivity along the route. What gives it its grandeur is an appreciation of how much is involved in making these two routes - land and sea - all are they can be.

That is transforming them into state of the art  infrastructure to provide transport for the world and do what has never been done to alleviate world poverty. In short, the best logistics transport system the world has ever known.

Boring? Not at all. One only need remember that as little as 10 years ago. China wasted half of its coal in getting it from mine to market. China has done much to fix that over the years and such wastage is now largely a thing of the past.

But not elsewhere. In most of the world, much of mankind's toil is wasted in wastage. Half Africa's food produce never makes it to a consumers table because of spoilage from the lack of cold storage or the availability of a well maintained road that would increase truck frequency.

The idea of "One Belt, On Road" is to develop a uniform high quality infrastructure from China to Europe and deep into Africa, where China has growing interests and activities, said Newark's Journal of Commerce.

The plan is to ease the transport of goods, services and capital linking China to the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations as well as India and Africa.

"This will require increased investment to enhance physical links such as railways, highways, ports and oil pipelines, especially in China's central and western regions, which have, on average, low levels of development," said HSBC economist John Zhu.

"A wide range of domestic projects have already started or await planning approval, but total investment could reach CNY1.5 trillion (US$240 billion), equal to a quarter of infrastructure fixed-asset investment in China last year and thus representing a multi-year boost to aggregate demand."

 

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