By Enock Balakasi
All is set for China to host the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) from 25 to 27 April this month in her Capital Beijing, drawing together representatives from 150 countries including Malawi, 90 international organizations and about 40 leaders of foreign states and governments.
The meeting will review Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a development strategy and framework proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013 with the goal of enhancing the connectivity and cooperation between China and the rest of the World
The Malawi delegation will be led by Jappie Mhango who is Minister of Transport and Public Works.
Briefing journalists in Lilongwe on Tuesday afternoon, Chinese Ambassador to Malawi, Liu Hongyang, disclosed that the Second BRF will take stock of what BRI has achieved and draw a blueprint for future cooperation to further enrich BRI cooperation.
He said China considered strengthening connectivity a high priority and that cooperation under its Belt and Road infrastructure initiative had entered a “new phase of full implementation”.
Hongyang added that alot of development projects have taken shape in Asia, Europe and Africa since the initiative started six years ago.
“China will work with all countries involved under the principle of consultation and collaboration for shared benefits to pursue the Belt and Road initiative against high standards, so that it will deliver quality outcomes and create even greater development opportunities for the people in the Asia-Pacific and Africa”, he said. president said.
The Chinese Ambassador hoped that Malawi stands to benefit from BRI through its participation at the second BRF.
According to Hongyang, BRI has received strong endorsement and warm support of the international community.
The Belt and Road initiative is Xi’s signature foreign policy plan, unveiled five years ago to boost trade through investment in ports, power plants and other infrastructure in more than 80 countries from Asia to Europe and Africa. Having since been expanded to the Arctic and South America, the initiative has become synonymous with much of China’s diplomatic and foreign economic activity.
He said, so far, a total of 124 countries and 29 international organizations have signed BRI cooperation documents with China.
Beijing hosted the first Belt and Road forum in May 2017 with participation from more than 100 countries, including 29 national leaders from countries like Malawi.