Belt and Road initiative couldn’t have come at a better time for Latin America
For Latin American development, the timing of China’s Belt and Road initiative couldn’t have been better, experts said recently at a forum in Mexico.
The initiative, designed to promote global infrastructure and international trade and integration, has proven to be a timely mechanism for spurring large-scale public projects that improve connectivity, said experts gathered Monday at a roundtable organized by the Economics Department of Mexico’s National Autonomous University.
“Hopefully, the Belt and Road can... improve the capacity to draw up projects in Latin America, especially in relatively less developed countries,” said Jorge Eduardo Navarrete Lopez, Mexico’s former ambassador to China.
The timing of the initiative couldn’t have been better, he added, given the lack of funding available in the region.
“Its emergence is important in a situation in which the traditional infrastructure financing funds, such as the World Bank and regional development banks, are clearly insufficient,” said Navarrete.
To make the most of the initiative’s potential to bolster connectivity to facilitate trade, “it’s imperative to have in mind regional and interregional projects in parallel with national projects,” Navarrete added.
Mexico’s ex-ambassador to China Eugenio Anguiano Roch, a member of the Economics Department’s ChinaMexico Studies Center, agrees that the plan can be a boon to the region.
“Today we see China’s economy as the second largest in the world and that Chinese technology has advanced so much, above all in infrastructure works, we feel that the initiative have a lot of opportunities,” he said. To ensure that the initiative moves forward, the participation of all the countries has to be “very active, decided and realistic,” he said. According to Du Qiwen, a former Chinese ambassador to Greece, the initiative’s achievements so far have surpassed expectations.
The key to its success, he said, lies in its spirit of cooperation towards mutual benefit.
Looking to the future, Du mentioned the possibility to forge a 21st century route for peace and prosperity by promoting environmental preservation and innovation for global development.
Liu Biwei, vice president of the China Public Diplomacy Association, a soft-powerfocused organization which helped organize the roundtable, said that despite the geographic distance that separates China and Latin America, the two regions share a solid foundation for cooperation via the Belt and Road initiative. To that end, a delegation from the association was in Mexico to deepen mutual knowledge between the two peoples through dialogue, said Liu.