Executive Intelligence Review
Subscribe to EIR


Belt and Road Highlighted at World Bank/IMF Meeting

Oct. 14, 2017 (EIRNS)—The significance of the Belt and Road Initiative was underlined by World Bank President Jim Yong Kim on a panel highlighting China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) at the World Bank/International Monetary Fund annual assembly on Oct. 12.

"I think two things that the world needs very much right now are strong leadership and an embrace of multilateral approaches to solving difficult problems, and the BRI is both of those things,"

Kim told a discussion that is part of the ongoing annual meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund. During the annual meetings, an array of leaders expressed strong support and optimism for the Belt and Road Initiative, launched by President Xi Jinping in 2013 and described in a release on Thursday by the World Bank as the largest infrastructure project in history.

"President Xi took the leadership to use his convening power to bring the countries and multilateral development banks (MDBs) together, that’s great; and I think more and more countries will join over time,"

Kim said.

"What we built after 1945 was the multilateral system," Kim said.

"The 1945 world order has prevented so many terrible things from happening, and any time that you have a chance to embrace it and to lead the world toward even more integration, you should grab it. That’s what China has done, and that’s why we support this initiative. Every six months we’re going to get together; every six months, we report back to the entire world the progress that we’re making."

Embracing integration and multilateral approaches will "have a huge impact on ending poverty and boosting shared prosperity," Kim said.

"The trick for us is going to be to work with every single country as part of the Belt and Road Initiative to make sure that they can take the greatest advantages,"

he said. Kim also said the World Bank is working well together with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). They are not competitors, Kim stressed, because "with all the banks combined, there’s still not anywhere near enough financing for infrastructure development" in the world.

AIIB President Jin Liqun said the clear message from the Chinese government is that once the Belt and Road Initiative takes off, it’s up to everybody to work together.

"In China we have a saying, ’When everybody chips in putting in the firewood, flames go much higher.’ But I would like to say when MDBs work together, I would like to have the World Bank to take the lead,"

Jin said, and then turning to Kim, he said: "If you’re short of money, we all chip in." China’s Vice-Minister of Finance Shi Yaobin, another panelist, also said that while the initiative was originated in China, the Belt and Road will benefit the entire world. International cooperation is both key to its success and a long-term benefit of implementation, he said.

Indonesia’s Minister of Finance Sri Mulyani Indrawati said connectivity and cooperation are becoming valuable today with the sentiment of many countries "becoming more inward-looking." She expressed optimism that the initiative would bring inclusive economic growth to Indonesia.

Kazakhstan’s Deputy Prime Minister Erbolat Dossaev described the Belt and Road as a major opportunity for his landlocked country, bringing new infrastructure and social development and helping to diversify the economy and alleviate poverty.