Saturday, 20 October 2018 | News today: 6

One Belt, One Road initiative paves way for investments and infrastructural projects


Representatives of 15 countries from four continents are attending the 3rd China-Central and East Europe (CEE) Conference in Ohrid that is dedicated to the role of human capital in the One Belt, One Road Initiative.

Opening the conference, President Gjorge Ivanov said Macedonia, drawing positive experience from the past, wanted to join the new Silk Road, thus he supported the Chinese initiative One Belt, One Road for ‘contributing to peace, prosperity, openness, innovation, and links between the civilizations.’

“Infrastructural projects included in the One Belt, One Road initiative will allow the countries in Central and Eastern and Southeastern Europe to build strong links between them, which could increase the competitiveness of the economies in the region for foreign investments. It will irreversibly alter the region’s geography, erase prejudice and divisions, improve cooperation and build a European future for all the countries in the region,” noted Ivanov.

The initiative is deemed very important, particularly for Macedonia, because One Belt, One Road offers opportunities to fund major infrastructural projects in the region helping its economic development.

“A high-speed railway between Belgrade and Budapest is being built, the Chinese also have a major project in the Port of Piraeus and Macedonia, being a country located between these two points, has a huge potential to feel economic benefits. Apart from infrastructure, the country’s prospects are even larger as regards science and education, especially regarding tourism. We are here, in Ohrid, for the Chinese representatives to see for themselves the tourist potentials of Macedonia, which could pave the way towards projects in these spheres,” said professor Matevž Rašković of the Faculty of Economics in Ljubljana.

Dejun Cao, professor at the Southwestern University of Finance and Economics, referred to Macedonia’s potentials to establish a more intensive cooperation with Chinese businesses.

“If Chinese tourists would know what a beautiful place this is, they would have come here for sure. You have magnificent wine, but you will have to increase wine production to satisfy only a segment of the demand of the city of Chengdu with a 16-million population. The white cheese I’ve eaten here is the most tasty cheese I have ever had. However, supply could not meet the demand of that city in China alone. These several examples show a need for an increased cooperation between businesses in the two countries in order to implement future projects of mutual interest,” stated Cao.

The One Belt, One Road initiative, implemented in the 16+1 format by China, foresees major financial mechanisms for which over $50 billion have been singled out through Chinese banks to fund many projects in the region, including infrastructure. According to experts, to use a segment of these funds it requires strong projects that would take into consideration the interests of potential Chinese partners.