The New Silk Road: a grand vision, a bold dream and a huge business opportunity
In 2013 China announced an initiative to build, in cooperation with many other countries, ‘the Silk Road Economic Belt’ and ‘the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road’, commonly referred to as ‘One Belt One Road’, or simply ‘the Belt and Road’. The initiative builds on the centuries-old historic ties, trading and culture, that linked China with Europe via multiple countries of Central and Western Asia. It extends to a traditional maritime route running from Chinese ports via the Indian Ocean to multiple destinations across the Middle East, Africa and Mediterranean Europe.
Experts have compared this initiative to the US-led Trans-Pacifi c Partnership (TPP) and if successful ‘One Belt One Road’ could forever change the economic map of the world. The initiative brings with it the creation of new transportation links to move energy and natural resources and also know-how and ideas between China, including its less developed Western provinces, through the resource-rich Central Asia all the way to Eastern and Central Europe. The maritime Silk Road, predicated on the development of dozens of Chinese ports would bring much closer together, and reinvigorate the economies of South East Asia, the Middle East and Africa.