Executive Intelligence Review


Building the Local Infrastructure for the Belt and Road Great Projects

Jan. 23, 2018 (EIRNS)—When the economic planners began designing and building the dams, hydroelectric plants, and transmission lines to provide protection from floods, and bring power and light to the Tennessee Valley, under President Franklin Roosevelt’s Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), they quickly realized that workers suffering from malaria, and who could not read, would not be able to meet the task. The TVA carried out an extensive public health care program, to prevent, treat, and cure disease. It built schools and libraries, and offered classes to students of all ages. It set up demonstrations to teach people how to use electric appliances, and carried out research and development programs to create new technology and increased productivity.

China is now facing a similar challenge, in not only building the infrastructure along the Silk Road, but developing the populations so they can make use of it. The Belt and Road Initiative brings more than “national level” projects to countries, but also helps lay the basis for states and communities to benefit from them, as a People’s Daily article today puts it.

The article describes some of the projects that Chinese companies build, such as bridges, roads, schools, clinics, and water projects, for local communities. Often, these smaller, necessary projects are built by China for free, explained Yan Li, chief information officer with CITIC Construction. They boost project efficiency, and improve people’s lives. And not all of the tools that people need are physical. Another project that changes people’s lives, is the Digital Silk Road. This is “equally important, to bridge the development gap and people’s mindset with the promotion of science and technology.”

The TVA, which transformed a population that had not yet left the 19th century, was the envy of every country in the world that had an underdeveloped, “dirt poor,” rural population. Now it is China that has started that transformation in the nations that are part of the World Land-Bridge.