The AIIB and the Silk Road Fund

The AIIB and the Silk Road Fund
2017-01-13 | author : giser

category : ISSUES

The concept of ‘one belt' was first proposed by Chinese president Xi Jinping in a speech at Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan in September 2013: "To forge closer economic ties, deepen co-operation and expand development in the Eurasian region, we should take an innovative approach and jointly build an ‘economic belt along the Silk Road'."

The concept of ‘one road' was introduced by a speech that Xi delivered at Indonesia's parliament in October 2013: "China will strengthen maritime co-operation with Asean [Association of Southeast Asian Nations] countries to make good use of the China-Asean Maritime Co-operation Fund set up by the Chinese government and vigorously develop a maritime partnership in a joint effort to build the Twenty-first Century Maritime Silk Road."

The ‘One belt, one road' vision has been embraced by 57 countries, which expressed their willingness to support it by connecting it their own development plans, and striving for an ‘early harvest'. In November 2014, Xi announced the acceleration of the planning process for the ‘Economic Belt along the Silk Road' and the ‘Twenty-first Century Maritime Silk Road', and to strengthen co-operation with the countries involved. He also said China would set up a $40 billion Silk Road Fund, aimed at directly supporting the construction of ‘One belt, one road'.

The success of the ‘One belt, one road' vision depends on successful financing that is open, inclusive and transparent.

The next decade will witness a significant structural transformation in global economics, as China and other emerging market economies (EMEs) play significant roles as large traders, manufacturers, investors, financiers and infrastructure builders. The ‘One belt, one road' vision and its implementation will help address the bottlenecks in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond, and it could generate good returns for all stakeholders, as well as putting developmental results on the ground. However, to be effective, aid or development co-operation must be in the host country's own interest and demand-driven. Combining trade, aid and investment - a market-based approach - can ensure the alignment of incentives among equal partners, as shown by the successful experiences in many east Asian countries.

China needs to continue to learn, as in the last 35 years, to become a better development partner, by listening to the demands from partners and interacting with governments, non-governmental organisations and civil societies. China needs to be more open and transparent in providing accurate data on international development financing and activities. Political and economic dynamics must be taken into consideration when in discussion with the current government of the client country.

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