China’s new BRI financing plans to help partner countries improve infrastructure, people’s livelihood: experts
Published: Oct 18, 2023 03:04 PM
The streets of Beijing are decorated to welcome the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. Photo: VCG

The streets of Beijing are decorated to welcome the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. Photo: VCG

Chinese President Xi Jinping has announced a package of new financing support to advance cooperation under the Belt and Road initiative (BRI) framework on Wednesday, with two Chinese policy banks to each set up a 350 billion yuan ($48.75 billion) financing window for BRI, as well as an additional 80 billion yuan which will be injected into the Silk Road Fund.

The new moves were declared by President Xi in his keynote speech to the opening ceremony of the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) in Beijing.

China will carry out practical cooperation under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), promoting both signature projects and "small yet smart" livelihood-related programs, and offering more financing support for BRI projects on the basis of market and business operation, Xi said.

The China Development Bank and the Export-Import Bank of China will each set up a 350-billion yuan financing window, and an additional 80 billion yuan will be injected into the Silk Road Fund, Xi said.

Meanwhile, China will carry out 1,000 small-scale livelihood assistance projects, and enhance vocational education cooperation through Luban Workshops and other initiatives, Xi said, adding that further efforts would be made to ensure the safety of BRI projects and personnel.

Meanwhile, reflecting the positive outcomes of the BRI, the CEO Conference held during the BRF saw the conclusion of BRI agreements worth $97.2 billion, Xi announced.

More than 300 company representatives from China and abroad signed the agreements at the conference, covering cooperation on artificial intelligence, biomedicine, modern agriculture and financial services that set new records in terms of both the number of deals and the value of contracts.

That outcome and the new measures announced at the forum indicate the wide acceptance and recognition of BRI by various countries. This is evident from the $97.2 billion in signed business deals reached during the forum, Liang Haiming, dean of the Hainan University Belt and Road Research Institute, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

The new financing measures, together with the newly-proposed 1,000 small-scale livelihood assistance projects, demonstrate that the Chinese government's "actions always speaking louder than words," and China will continue to wholeheartedly promote the development and well-being of the people in BRI partner countries, Liang said.

Experts noted that a further increase of financial support comes at a time when the global economy is facing downturn headwinds as many countries have yet to fully recover from the pandemic.

Currently, many countries are still recovering from the pandemic, grappling with fiscal revenue declines and currency devaluation, while some developing countries are facing delays in debt repayment, Wang Yongzhong, the director of the Institute of Energy Economy at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

"In the face of these challenges, China's commitment and confidence in promoting and deepening the BRI, especially with the developing countries, are evident, seen in China's decision to allocate such a substantial amount of funds, which will inject fresh momentum into a promising shared future," Wang said.

Wang said that the new financing mechanism will focus on high-quality BRI development projects, particularly those strategic flagship projects crucial for future economic and social development, as well as those "small yet smart" projects that help address people's everyday life. 

"These ['small and smart'] projects encompass green energy sources like wind and solar power, and agriculture, healthcare, poverty reduction and more," Wang said.

China will work with all partner countries to ramp up Belt and Road cooperation into a new stage of high-quality development, and will make relentless efforts to help achieve modernization for all countries, Xi said.