China, world leaders call for transparency in Belt and Road project

Friday April 26 2019

Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks during the opening ceremony of the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing on April 26, 2019.

Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks during the opening ceremony of the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing on April 26, 2019. PHOTO | AFP 

ONYANGO K'ONYANGO
By ONYANGO K'ONYANGO
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World leaders have urged member countries of Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) for transparency in implementing BRI projects in their nations.

The projects aim to improve infrastructure and living standards, and to tackle poverty.

The leaders, who spoke during the official opening of the Second Belt and Road Forum (BRF) in Beijing on Friday, emphasised the need for equal development in a push to contribute to the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Led by Chinese President Xi Jinping, the leaders underscored the essence of supporting each other in economic development for what Mr Xi termed as building a community with a shared future for mankind.

President Xi said that since the inception of BRI in 2013, China has been working with member countries to enhance connectivity.

“BRI has seen large cooperation projects achieved and has created more trade opportunities, hence contributing to world economic growth as well as helping China to open up to the world,” said Mr Xi, who came up with the idea of One Belt, One Road.

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The Chinese President called for transparency in implementing BRI projects, adding that China would not tolerate corruption in the projects.

“We must have zero tolerance to corruption, China will only support open cooperation and clean governance when pursuing BRI cooperation,” Mr Xi said.

“We will have to cooperate with member countries on how to fight corruption as well as on good governance by involving different political parties of those countries,” he added.

He also urged member countries to support green development to fight climate change globally.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres urged BRI member countries to work towards mitigating the effects of climate change.

He lauded China for coming up with the BRI idea.

“BRI plays a pivotal role in bridging the infrastructure gap for many developing countries which are lagging behind. These countries need to spend $1.3 trillion to actualise their infrastructure needs,” Mr Guterres said.

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde said the BRI project should include increased transparency, an open procurement process with competitive bidding and better risk assessment in project selection.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said countries need to embrace BRI for equal development.

“We are tired of geopolitical conflicts, let us support an idea that leaves no one in terms of development,” he said.

The Belt and Road Forum will end on Saturday.

Additional reporting by Reuters.

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