16 March 2017
One Belt One Road: PPP Alchemy - is the Silk Road paved in Gold?
The "One Belt One Road" project (OBOR) is one of China's key initiatives as part of its plan to assert its position as one of the world's strongest economic powers. OBOR was initially launched by China's President Xi Jinping in late 2013 as one of the Asian superpower's ambitious plans to accelerate outbound investment and to consolidate its position generally across the globe. This article explores what OBOR is, its objectives, current investment in OBOR, key challenges OBOR faces and how the PPP project model can be utilized to support OBOR projects .....
Conclusion – is the Silk Road paved in gold?
Whichever way one looks at it, the OBOR initiative is arguably the most globally far-reaching and impactful economic strategy since the US Marshall Aid Programme, which was implemented after WWII. Many commentators have and will continue to share their theories as to whether OBOR will be as successful as Beijing is hoping. As with anything of this nature, it will ultimately be judged and its legacy will be formed based on the results it achieves. What can be said at this point, however, is that China will not be found wanting in terms of the resources and planning it is throwing behind OBOR. The tenure of President Xi will to some extent be judged on the level of success OBOR achieves and, where many might shy away from this kind of pressure, he and his administration have made it clear that they are not of that ilk. This certainly bodes well for those along the belt and road and other stakeholders who are pinning high hopes on the success of this mega project.
Despite the best of intentions and efforts, it is without doubt that there are numerous challenges which lie in OBOR's path. Some of these which we have touched on can be considered somewhat obvious and inherent in a project of this scale. Others will emerge and evolve, as OBOR itself emerges and evolves in the years and decades ahead.
What is clear, however, and has been since OBOR was announced, is that the potential benefits for all involved are immense to the point of being immeasurable or accurately estimated at this point in time. Not only will these benefits be in favour of China and its people, but also to those along the OBOR route who choose to engage with China and its vision. The benefits will be economic, political, strategic, cultural and social. In the case of some countries these benefits are likely to be "game-changers" in their own modern history. Crucial infrastructure which otherwise might take decades to deliver is now seemingly in a position to be delivered on an accelerated timetable and the consequential benefits this can bring about are endless.
So yes, it is submitted that the Silk Road is potentially paved in gold, both for China (for the reasons stated), and for those countries that embrace this initiative and the potential benefits that it brings.
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