The China-led Belt and Road Initiative serves as a constructive platform to help achieve common prosperity for regional economies and contributes to global development, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said on Sunday.
China’s growing influence can be applied through the initiative to help other countries work through their differences and foster the development of free trade and investment, Kim told China Daily on the sidelines of the ongoing Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing.
The initiative consists of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.
Global and regional trade and investment still face many hurdles－”sometimes even within a single country”, Kim said. Trade between states or provinces and another state or province “can be very complicated”.
“What is needed in terms of tackling these barriers is that you need to have convening power,” he said. “You need to bring all the different parties together, and you need to get them to sit in a room and work out these kinds of differences.
“There’s a huge incentive for countries to come together at a meeting or platform that’s convened by China. Everybody wants to work with China.”
Kim made the comments against a background of rising anti-globalization and anti-trade sentiment in some developed countries. Meanwhile, many economies－especially in some underdeveloped regions－are in dire need of investment in infrastructure.
President Xi Jinping said in a speech on Sunday morning that China is willing to contribute to building a global free trade network, share its development experiences with other countries and increase funding through the Belt and Road Initiative to bolster global growth and promote the common development of the international community.
Kim praised Xi’s leadership in pushing the initiative.
“The most important thing about his speech is how incredibly ambitious he is,” Kim said. “He set a very high bar for what we should try to accomplish.
“There are very few leaders in the world who, because of their own position, their own charisma, their own ideas, can push the entire region forward. President Xi can do that.”
In a meeting with Kim on Sunday, Premier Li Keqiang said that China is willing to cooperate with the World Bank to conduct research on how to create new growth engines for the country, as China presses ahead with its economic restructuring, according to a China Central Television report.