UNDP and CDB Launch Report on the Economic Development along the Belt and Road

Dec 11, 2017

Beijing, December 11 – The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has tremendous potential for offering public goods to the world population, says the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the 'Economic Development along the Belt and Road 2017' report, launched today at the CDB headquarters in Beijing.

As a joint research product of UNDP, the China Development Bank (CDB), and the School of Economics at Peking University (SEPKU), the report provides a framework to access and analyse the BRI’s complexity and its effects on national and regional development. One of the report’s key assumptions is that with a shared vision, the Belt and Road can create a viable model for long-term, sustainable growth by giving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) a central role in the initiative’s quest for economic prosperity. 

”This report builds a solid foundation for UNDP’s future BRI engagement and cooperation with CDB,” said Nicholas Rosellini, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in China. “It [the report] suggests that countries along the Belt and Road, despite their vast diversity in levels of economic development, can jointly benefit through socio-economic cooperation,” he added.

The report highlights the linkage between BRI and the 2030 Agenda. The report holds that, by closely aligning the BRI with the SDGs, the BRI will not only contribute to the achievement of the goals in the areas of basic infrastructure, regional development, connectivity and industrialization, but also will facilitate the sustainable transformation of the countries and regions along the Belt and Road, with a focus on poverty reduction, environmental sustainability and inclusive social development.

 “The launch of this report demonstrates CDB’s enduring support towards national development and the BRI. It highlights the cooperation between domestic and international top-tier research institutions, aiming to strengthen China’s research capabilities and knowledge sharing,” said Liu Yong, Chief Economist and Head of the Research Institute of CDB.

With continuous reforms and opening-up over the past 30 years, China is now the world’s second-largest economy, contributing to 39% of the global growth in 2016 with a 14.2% year-on-year rise. China’s experience in economic development provides a useful avenue to explore the possibilities of industrial diversification in economies along the Belt and Road Initiative. Given this background, the report offers an outlook of the Belt and Road initiative looking at its growth prospects, opportunities and challenges. It draws on latest data available, including economic figures especially on trade and investment trends and patterns, industrial cooperation, financial integration as well as social indicators and potential for human capital development.

The assumption the report explores is that the aggregate economy of the countries and regions along the Belt and Road can promote global economic growth. Therefore, the initiative can give the opportunity for participating countries to get higher gains from trade and investment, entering foreign markets, diversify their exports, and most importantly to get skills, knowledge and technology—all considered as key factors for productivity enhancement and growth. Countries can create capabilities, by improving macroeconomic and business conditions, improve physical infrastructure and utilities, and create a more business-friendly environment.

Besides enormous economic growth opportunities, the BRI has tremendous potential for offering public goods to the world population if the initiative adopts a development-oriented agenda and commits itself to high social and environmental values. For instance, the report discusses the social outlook of the BRI through studies on socio-economic development, population, education, social protection and labour in countries along the Belt and Road, and concludes that combining the BRI to the provision of global public goods can produce cross-regional benefits and improve the well-being of future generations, including those not directly involved in the initiative.

“Peking University looks forward to continuing working with CDB and UNDP, in search of ways to promote global sustainable development under the current economic circumstances. We hope to make academic contributions to the long-term sustainability of the BRI and to the building of a community of shared future for mankind through discussion and collaboration,” said Wang Bo, Vice President of Peking University.

 “UNDP hopes that these inputs can turn into actionable measures and that China’s leaders, as well as others along the Belt and Road and globally, will continue to aspire to eradicate poverty and promote sustainable development in the coming decades,” Rosellini added. 


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