Constructing the New Silk Road
The megaproject of the century
It has been called “the biggest project of the century” and goes by several different names. It used to be called One Belt One Road. Today the official name is changed to the Belt and Road Initiative, in short BRI. In daily use, however, it is called by perhaps its most beautiful name: The New Silk Road. It is a reference to the ancient merchant route known as the Silk Road which emerged about 2,000 years ago, as the demand for Chinese silk increased in the West. From the former Chinese capital Xian, merchants travelled through central Asia, passing by legendary towns such as Samarkand, on their way to the markets in the cities of Middle East and Southern Europe. Besides bringing goods between the East and the West, the trade on the Silk Road also stimulated the exchange of ideas, science and culture.
In a speech in 2013, Chinese president Xi Jinping officially launched the vision of a New Silk Road. According to Xi, the project is the beginning of a “new era of globalization” which will drastically increase the connectivity between Asia, Europe, Africa – and even further beyond. Panama is also participating in the initiative and there are initiatives to include more parts of Latin America and the Caribbean.
Construction projects in more than 60 countries are planned or already taking place and China has closed 173 deals with more than 120 countries as well as 29 international organizations. As more and more countries are participating, the project continues to grow, and the total extent of the New Silk Road is still to be seen. But when finished in 2049, the 100th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China, this ambitious megaproject will span across at least three continents and involve over half of the world’s population.
Read more about the New Silk Road on the Volvo website >>