Belt and Road Initiative expected to enhance South-South cooperation

05-07-2017 986

The China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative will spur more South countries to find their roads for development, leading to inclusive and balanced growth worldwide, said government officials and scholars from these countries.

"South-South cooperation used to focus on boosting trade, but guided by the Millennium Development Goals set up in 2000, more and more people have realized how to help different countries build their capability to develop and to govern has become a key issue for South-South cooperation, said Cai Esheng, chairman of Hong Kong-based Finance Center for South-South Cooperation at Tsinghua University in Beijing on Sunday.


"Even among South countries, some have emerged like the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa)," said Cai, who is also former vice-chairman of China's Banking Regulatory Commission, adding that these five countries all have found their own way of development.


"China's experience is that it has not copied any other country's development path and has not entirely followed European or US scholars' advice, especially their advice on financial sector, but that it has formed its own model of development, Cai said.

Zhou Hao, vice-dean of PBC School of Finance, Tsinghua University, said China's "gradualist approach of reform" has proven to be a success and warned South countries not to open up their market or privatize their economy overnight.


Zhou said that China's economy has increased multiple times since the country adopted the opening up and reform policy in 1978, while economies in former Soviet Union and some countries in eastern and central Europe, which went through overnight, shock therapy-style reforms, have lost momentum or even stagnated.

Jiang Xiheng, who works with the Development Research Center of the State Council of China, said that the Belt and Road Initiative will be the largest platform for cooperation among South countries and will help China's experience spread more widely to help more countries find growth engines.


However, she added that all the experience is understood in the perspective of China and might not fit in other countries as some elements that have defined China's success might not exist in other countries.

Bhekuyise Nicholas Mfeka, economic advisor to the President of South Africa, said that how to balance global growth used to be a very abstract issue but implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative have made inclusive, balance, sustainable growth visible.


He just finished a seven-day South-South Education Program for Economics and Finance organized by PBC School of Finance, Tsinghua University and Finance Center for South-South Cooperation. During this study tour, he, along with more than 20 students from 23 countries, including Egypt, India, Indonesia, Laos, Madagascar and Ethiopia, learned China's financial policies and visited financial institutions like the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank and Bank of China.


The economic advisor to South Africa said that he could make immediate contributions as he could use what he has learned to help break some bottlenecks in his country's development.


By Song Jingli |

Belt and Road Initiative expected to enhance South-South cooperation