One Belt One Road: Analysis of the one belt one road initiative
Schiller International University
Analysis of the One Belt One Road initiative
“History doesn’t repeat itself but it often rhymes” said Mark Twain, origins dated back to the 2nd century B.C; an ancient intercontinental trade route established in China named the Silk Road, within the roots and foundations of China stilled laid a quenched fire that existed with smoke. It only took the 21st century China tinder and kindly to rekindle the fire that once existed many centuries ago, the One Belt One Road initiative launched by the Chinese in 2013. Therefore this paper aims at analyzing and assessing the initiative in two dimensions economically, politically and a case study on human development specifically on the OBOR Kenya project.
To commence with, One Belt One Road is a combination of the economic belt and 21st century maritime route. According to the history the ancient silk road was a network of routes linking China to Europe and Middle East trading many commodities, spices, ceramics, silk only to mention a few, the trades brought enormous wealth, exchange of culture and discovery and exploitation of diversity to not only China but the rest of the nations which the silk road ran through and its trading centers.
The OBOR has six economic corridors and one maritime route leading to the cooperation and linking of 65 countries in Asia, Europe, Africa and Middle East already that’s approximately 40% of the world’s wealth and 50% of population. The World Economic Forum estimates the OBOR initiative can boost regional GDP by 4%. This initiative creates economic coalitions between the countries involved thus creating easy transportation for the people and fast logistics, infrastructure building of roads , factories , pipelines , ports creating jobs; tourism will increase due to the high speed trains and also just the ideology of travelling on an ancient network thus contributing to human development. An increase in foreign direct investments and trade will increase within these economies thus in turn helping the countries generate more revenues that can be contributed to education, social welfare , social security , health and boost countries GDP , income increases the people will have better living conditions and this will help mitigate poverty. Furthermore though the OBOR is mainly aiming at infrastructure and development unlike the World Bank it’s a multiplier effect that contributes to all pillars of economic activities to contribute to sustainable and human development.
On the other hand, China is using the OBOR as a soft power just like the USA used the Bretton Woods system, there is a high risk that if countries like Pakistan, Kenya will suffer debt burdens if there is mismanagement of failure projects, China will turn to liquidizing or taking control of shareholding part of the most essential economic sector of that country thus China having control or the country becoming a vessel of China this will lead to these countries straining their economies trying to pay back this will weaken their economies they will divert funds for education , social security , health and industralization to settling these debts and this will cause increasing unemployment , shortages of food that will cause relative poverty , create crime and income rates decrease. In the projects China is supplying all the steel and other raw materials required and there is a dominance of Chinese firms contracted to these projects thus more surplus is going to China and jobs China had to bring labor at initiation of the projects because their materials will be in their language making it hard for a number of locals to get employment unless they learn the language.
Secondly, some of the countries involved like Afghanistan, Pakistan are countries at war, one of the objectives stated by President Xi Jingping was to use the OBOR as a way to also fight terrorism, use the engagement of countries to create peace and promote more business partnerships and mitigate terrorism contributes to the sustainable development goals set by the UN, also he clearly stated that China would not interfere in the internal affairs of the countries. The OBOR infrastructure is also planned and being executed in a way that their service is environmentally friendly e.g. the electric speed trains no emissions in the air.
On the contrary, the OBOR is a big threat to USA, Japan, India, France and their allies, China is a posing a threat to the USA markets in Europe, threat to overtake the USA in the some sectors of the international economy and this will cause political tension and might become more of a cold war because of clash of visions , this in future many cause the less developed countries involved to suffer in the event that this project is a white elephant , their economies will suffer leading to instability and insecurity in the international economy. The sea route scares the Indians because they have dominance in the Indian Ocean and also because of the sea ports being built strategically the Chinese seem to be creating “a string of pearls”, military bases and will clash with USA navy in the South China Seas.
Human Development: case study of the OBOR African corridor, Kenya
In 2014 the OBOR Kenya project broke ground linking the city port of Mombasa to Nairobi the capital city. The infrastructure project created over 46 000 jobs for Kenyanians reducing unemployment in the transportation sector and the Chinese taught skills so that the locals can run the industry themselves in future. The new railway reduces the travel time between the two cities thus attracting more passengers and reducing traffic and congestion in the high way and reducing the CO2 produced by the vehicles and reduces air pollution. The project produces revenue for the economy that will help with economic growth and will mutually contribute to the lives of the people to sustain their lives. The company on the project built a school and equipped the classes for the Masai community to help reduce the children travelling long distances for education and built a safe water source. The railway locomotive drivers has a mix of both man and women this gave empowerment to the women in Kenya and there is gender equality in the industry.
To sum it up all, just as Deng Xianping’s strategy to develop an economy and create sustainable development is the strategy being utilized for the initiative to be a success, “There are no permanent enemies but permanent interest” is the card being played by China, making relations with anyone open to fund and join the project to suit their interests and as well mutual benefits for the rest. Participating countries will have mutual benefits of economic growths and political relations that will help assist to reach the goals of sustainable and human development given there is collaboration, management and transparency.