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Beyond Markets: China’s BRI as a catalyst for global peace

Business Features Beyond Markets: China’s BRI as a catalyst for global peace
THU, 02 NOV 2023 LISTEN

The Belt and Road partnership is a symphony that is played by everyone, not just one person or country. Through the successful synchronization of development objectives and pragmatic demands among partners, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has assisted partner nations in converting their own advantages into concrete benefits of development.

China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), also known as the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative, is one of the most ambitious and extensive infrastructure and economic development projects in the world.

Launched in 2013 by Chinese President Xi Jinping the BRI aims to connect Asia, Europe, Africa, and beyond through a network of roads, railways, ports, and digital infrastructure to help in improving regional integration, increasing trade and stimulating economic growth.

World Bank estimates that by 2030, Belt and Road cooperation will bring an annual benefit of USD 1.6 trillion to the world, accounting for 1.3 percent of the global GDP and injecting strong impetus into global development.

With its emphasis on collaboration, economic growth, and connectivity, China's Belt and Road Initiative has become a driver for world peace. The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) fosters global stability and peace by promoting economic interdependence, infrastructural development, cultural exchange, diplomatic connections, and tackling global concerns.

The initiative continues to evolve, its potential to further contribute to a harmonious and interconnected world should not be underestimated.

By examining the factual evidence and drawing on various references, this article aims to explore how China's BRI has the potential to serve as a catalyst for global peace, transcending economic benefits.

Economic Interdependence and Peace

The BRI's main objective is to increase connectivity between countries, and its cornerstone is the idea of economic interdependence between China and its partner states.

One important aspect that lessens the incentives for nations to wage military war and increases the appeal of peaceful coexistence is economic interconnectedness. The Democratic Peace Theory, which holds that democracies with close economic ties are less inclined to wage war, lends credence to this theory.

Strong economic links deter nations from entering military conflicts since they stand to lose a great deal. The BRI seeks to accelerate economic growth in member nations by fostering connectivity, infrastructure development, and increasing commerce. Since economic development creates jobs, lowers poverty, and strengthens the socioeconomic well-being of participating nations, it frequently results in greater stability and fewer conflicts.

Increased economic interconnection and connectivity can encourage the peaceful resolution of conflicts and dispute resolution as an alternative to armed war.

Infrastructure Development and Conflict Mitigation

Building infrastructure is a key component of the BRI. The effort helps to lessen international and internal disputes while also fostering economic growth through investments in energy, transportation, and communication networks.

The enhancement of infrastructure frequently results in the reduction of social and political strains, enhancing the general stability of regions.

Furthermore, the Belt and Road Initiative's focus on infrastructure development is anticipated to yield advantages for African nations that have historically experienced socioeconomic marginalization.

Better infrastructure links these nations more effectively on the international scene and may pave the way for increased political integration and cooperation.

Conflict Prevention and Resolution

The BRI encourages multilateral cooperation and conflict prevention by involving numerous countries in its projects. This collaborative approach can lead to peaceful conflict resolution. Through diplomatic dialogues and international forums, the BRI facilitates communication among participating nations, contributing to a more harmonious global political landscape.

The vast infrastructural development of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) reaches into previously conflict-ridden regions, offering the chance for prosperity and stability. For example, the BRI's China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in Pakistan has made investments in necessary infrastructure, which may lessen regional turmoil.

This dedication to raising standards of life and promoting economic expansion can be extremely important in averting violence.

Enhancing Global Connectivity

Building digital and physical infrastructure that enables cross-border connectivity is one of the BRI's main goals. China places a strong emphasis on coordination and collaboration with other nations, regional organizations, and international organizations as part of its BRI strategy.

In order to sustain peace and stability on a worldwide scale, the BRI supports global governance by upholding multilateral principles and practices.

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) seeks to close gaps and promote international relations by investing in ports, highways, railroads, and telecommunications infrastructure. Enhanced connectivity has the potential to mitigate geopolitical tensions, expedite diplomatic efforts, and cultivate mutual understanding among previously antagonistic nations.

Promoting Cultural Exchange

Most often than not, cultural exchange as a key outcome of the BRI is ignored completely or seen as less significant. China's Belt and Road Initiative fosters and advances cultural interactions in addition to economic cooperation.

The BRI initiatives frequently place a strong emphasis on cooperation in fields like tourism, education, and people-to-people interactions, which helps the member nations' mutual trust and goodwill grow.

The initiative gives nations the chance to learn about one another's history, cultures, and languages by facilitating the flow of ideas and people across international boundaries. Global peace depends on mutual respect, tolerance, and understanding, all of which can be fostered by this greater cross-cultural interaction.

Strengthening Diplomatic Relations

The BRI has facilitated diplomatic collaboration and communication amongst nations that might not have otherwise had the opportunity to do so.

Countries can develop diplomatic relations that can be utilized to resolve disagreements and disputes amicably by cooperating on a range of infrastructure projects.

Participating nations are encouraged to work together and integrate through the BRI. Countries can establish interdependencies and shared interests through cooperative infrastructure projects and enhanced trade, resulting in stronger diplomatic connections and regional stability.

Addressing Global Challenges

Climate change and sustainable development has over the years gained momentum in the BRI projects. Greening the BRI has been a core commitment by all participating countries, especially, as China continuous to lead the world in climate financing.

Investments in clean energy projects, green technologies and environmentally friendly infrastructure can contribute to mitigating climate change and addressing environmental challenges. Addressing environmental concerns is crucial for long-term global peace, as climate-related disputes and resource scarcity can be sources of conflict.

By promoting sustainable practices and green infrastructure, the BRI can help avert ecological disputes and advance long-term global stability.

In conclusion, it's critical to understand that while the main goal of China's Belt and Road Initiative is to enhance economic cooperation through increased connectivity, it also has the capacity to ignite global peace.

The evidence presented demonstrates how the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has increased economic interdependence, encouraged the construction of infrastructure in conflict-prone areas, fostered cultural exchange, strengthened diplomatic ties, and addressed environmental concerns—all of which have contributed to a more stable and peaceful world.

It is crucial to identify and address potential obstacles by ensuring sustainability, transparent governance, equitable benefit distribution, and alignment of the initiatives and goals with the values of international cooperation and peace in order to fully realize the BRI's potential as a catalyst for global peace and to maximize its benefits for global peace.

WRITTEN BY:

Paul Frimpong

Executive Director

Africa-China Centre for Policy & Advisory


Mercy Tedeku

Research Associate

Africa-China Centre for Policy & Advisory

www.africachinacentre.org

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