Editor's note: At the two-day Silk Road Forum that began in Madrid, Spain, on Tuesday, experts and scholars from 30 countries talked about the impact of the Belt and Road Initiative on the regional development and global economy.
China will continue to engage with existing multilateral development banks while working to establish new ones, with an aim to help unleash the comparative advantages of various countries in natural resources, capital, industrial development and human resources. Infrastructure is the key to successful implementation of the initiative. As the countries along the route vary significantly in their stages of economic and social development, underinvestment in infrastructure, if not addressed, may present a major obstacle for continued economic growth.
Yang Shaolin, director general of the International Economic and Financial Cooperation Department at the Chinese Ministry of Finance
It is definitely the case that commercial banks can finance the short-term part of project finance, but we can't take the political and legal risks of a 30-year plan, which is where multinational development banks need to come into the equation. The private sector is always very enthusiastic to finance things with commercial returns, so you'll find that the private sector find it very easy to finance telecom, communication and broadband, and find it very difficult to finance water and sanitation, which are really about poverty relief and have an enormous social component.
Stuart Gulliver, group chief executive of HSBC Holdings
There are many lessons that we at European Bank for Reconstruction and Development have learned that we could share with financial institutions related to the Belt and Road Initiative. We only invest in projects that are sound banking projects because the projects need to be affordable for infrastructure users. Proper pricing of what economists call environmental externalities into the business plans matter a great deal in the long term.
Mattia Romani, managing director for country and sector economics at European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
The Belt and Road Initiative presents unprecedented opportunities for China and the world. It especially presents enormous cooperation potential between Europe and China. Europe is technologically innovative while China is the second-largest economy in the world. There is a huge market here that requires advanced technologies, improved efficiency and environmentally friendly investments.
Wang Yanzhi, executive director of the board of directors and president of the Silk Road Fund