Hadeel Harbi Thari/ Ph.D. Researcher
China launched the ‘Belt and Road Initiative’, with a high pace of its economic growth, and a growing dependence on foreign markets, raw materials, fuel, and other resources from overseas; To complete its great economic achievements, which constituted a strategic entry point for it; In order to integrate its economy into the global economy, China relied on the initiative to link the continents of the world with a network of transport routes, with the aim of enhancing trade and economic cooperation between China and the globe. The initiative includes Asia, Europe, Africa, and Latin America, relying on investing in the idea of the “Old Silk Road.”. So, in this paper, we will discuss what the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative is, and what are the opportunities and challenges that Iraq can derive from it?
First: What is the Belt and Road Initiative?
The “Silk Road Economic Belt and the Maritime Silk Road for the Twenty-first Century” initiative is a huge global economic and strategic project that includes many countries of the world in its maritime (belt) and land (road) parts. The initiative is based on updating the idea of the “old Silk Road”, which extended from China to Europe, passing through Asia and the Middle East in road chains of approximately 12,000 km, changing the map of the world by building two roads; One of them is on land and extends from China to Central Asia to the Mediterranean and Europe, and the other is sea lines that pass through commercial and industrial complexes and free zones.
The New Silk Road is a project launched by China in 2013 as a network of ports, roads, and railways that will connect more than 70 countries around the world. The initiative is referred to as a new project based on reviving and expanding the ancient Silk Road, and setting a vision for sharing development strategies and infrastructure between countries along its land and sea line, to strengthen ties between those Asian, European, and African countries, in a way that benefits everyone, to prove that China as a global partner in joint development and renaissance, and a key player in advancing the industrial development process, raising production capacities, as well as cultural and civilized communication, and exchanging experiences between nations, which is enshrined in the project. China and its partners are betting that the global development plan will be unprecedented, and a program to achieve world peace.