By Menkiti Onyebuchi Bernie, Features Editor
The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), has become a veritable tool for socio-political and economic international cooperation among member states within the belt and the road corridor. And this has in turn boosted interest in the initiative across many countries around the globe.
The Peoples Republic of China (PRC) hosted the Second Belt and Road Forum (BRF) for International co-operation in Beijing, China between 25-27 April 2019, in what was a high diplomatic forum that saw over thirty-six government leaders from around the world present to discuss the progress, contributions and prospects of the initiative which included 283 concrete results in six outlined categories.
The aftermath of this highly successful forum led to a press briefing held at the Peoples Republic of China Consulate in Lagos yesterday, where the Acting Consul General Mr. Guan Zhonggi told journalists that the just concluded Belt and Road Forum (BRF) for International Cooperation held in Beijing China represented deliberate intent based on a roundtable agreement by leaders of countries present to see to the actualization of the initiatives outlined goals.
Reading from a speech titled, ‘Briefing of the Second BRF’, the Acting Consul General disclosed that PRC was deliberate in its role in ensuring the promotion of an international collaboration in realising an impactful Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
Zhongqi remained fervent that the PRC’s intent to open up its economic strides to the rest of the world would aim at ensuring sound economic development, people oriented projects, high level standard in building strong relationship with Nigeria, as well as other African countries, particularly as it concerns technology knowledge exchange and transfer. This he said would remain a continuous exercise to ensure that African countries benefit the dividends of the initiative.
While advancing the position of the Government of the Peoples Republic of China, Zhongqi opined that the BRI as mentioned ab initio witnessed a spectrum of knowledge and view exchanges on the BRI cooperation as it pertains individual countries and the larger world order.
Reflecting on President Xi Jinping’s speech to the dignitaries of the Second BRI, Zhongqi said that the vast and rich vision of the BRI cooperation will guide the participating countries to follow up with suggestions that will enable cooperation and implementation of agreed terms in other to see to the achievement of the BRI ideals in all participating country.
When asked by a journalist whether the BRI was designed to aid only participating country, Zhongqi answered with conviction. He quoted President Xi Jinjiang, who said, “China’s opening up to the world has also benefitted PRC and not just the world.
‘China’s opening up to the world is a big opportunity for the world, and we believe that through China’s import and export fair, Nigeria and other countries across the globe will enjoy a more advanced trade and investment liberalisation and facilitation, with an open, inclusive and rule-based multilateral dialogue and cooperation”, he said.
He continued, “I foresee the co-operation between Nigeria and China, both in the capacity of business and cultural exchange, growing stronger with more and more Nigerian businessmen going to China and Chinese businessmen coming to Nigeria”.
At the briefing also was, Consulate’s Commercial Consul, Mr. Liu Junsheng, who enumerated various benefits of the BRI, drew his narration from the BRI roundtable that saw to the coming of different Heads of states and governments from 38 countries, including President Mohammadu Buhari, United Nations Secretary General and Managing Director, International Monetary Fund (IMF) with over 6,000 foreign guests from 150 countries and 92 international organizations, noted that this year’s forum, themed, ‘Belt and Road Co-operation: Shaping a Brighter Shared Future’ was all the way more rewarding as many interesting developmental projects will surface.
Mr Liu Junsheng also recounted President Xi Jinping’s submission at the 2018 BRI forum. He said in his stance that this year’s forum which is hinged on ‘Shaping a Brighter Headed Future’ has as one of its cardinal focus on promoting a high-quality Belt and Road co-operation based on collaborative contribution, extensive consultation and shared benefits.
Besides recounting these benefits of the BRI Mr. Liu Junsheng went further to state spell out many employment opportunities created in Nigeria for Nigerians by Chinese Companies. He also said that many Chinese companies in Nigeria have carried out many social corporate and social responsibilities in various communities in Nigeria; an indication of a healthier bilateral relationship between governments and citizens of both countries.
The BRF and BRI are yearly roundtable briefing and is China’s most important diplomatic event. This year’s forum was designed to enlarge the scope of the initiative, and empower traffic marshals. It also pointed out the consensus with lists of practicable expectations meant to meet desired needs of Nigeria, Africa and the rest of the world.
These practicable expectations are as follows; creating a global partnership of connectivity to promote new platform, to advance discourse around vital issues, state interconnected development, mutual gains, and creating a wider space for advancement and taking broad cooperate opportunities.
All in all, the attempt at opening up the market space, to engage rather in a multilateral approach is expected to sustain the values and testimonies of the first BRI. The BRI briefing by Mr Zhongqi drew new hopes and rekindled lost steam for international collaboration to solving world issues as enshrined in UN sustainable goals. Nigeria is expected to benefit greatly in this regard.