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Chinese foreign minister says BRI lifts 30 million out of poverty

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By Talibeh Hydara in Beijing

As the ambitious Belt and Road Initiative clocks a decade this year, the Chinese foreign minister has said the global infrastructure project has already lifted at least 30 million people out of poverty.

The Belt and Road Initiative, adopted by China in 2013, seeks to connect Africa, Asia and Europe through land and maritime networks to promote regional integration, trade and economic growth.

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The Gambia is among 151 countries and 30 international organisations that signed up to the initiative.

Qin Gang, the new Chinese foreign minister during a press conference in Beijing on the sidelines of the first session of the 14th National People’s Congress, said BRI has also galvanised nearly one trillion dollars in investment, created over 420 local jobs and launched more than 3000 cooperation projects in the past decade.

“Ten years after its inception, the BRI has evolved from vision into reality, boosting development in partner countries and bringing real benefits to the people.A decade of efforts have laid down a pathway toward common development, and created an array of national landmarks, livelihood projects, and milestones of cooperation. The BRI is a practical and open initiative, guided by the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits. Its cooperation is conducted through consultation, and its partnerships are built with friendship and good faith,” FM Qin Gang noted, also denying that BRI is a debt trap for developing countries.

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“The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a high-quality public good initiated by China, built by the parties involved, and shared by the world. It delivers high-standard, sustainable and livelihood-enhancing outcomes, and is hence widely welcomed.”

The 56-year-old, who served as Chinese ambassador to the US, also called on others to “share the burden fairly.”

“When parties sit together and talk things through, there will be more solutions than problems,” he added.

China’s path to modernisation has attracted attention from the world. FM Qin Gang said every country should choose its own path like China did.

“Modernisation should not serve the interests of only a few countries or individuals. It should not make the rich richer and the poor poorer. Nor should it lead to cultural impoverishment, moral degradation or disorder. People around the world should all enjoy the rights to seek development as equals and pursue happiness.

Chinese modernisation is not pursued through war, colonisation, or plundering. It is dedicated to peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefit, and is committed to harmony between humanity and nature. It is a new path different from western modernisation.

Humanity’s modernisation should not be a one-flower show but a hundred flowers in bloom. It is important to respect the right of every country to pursue a modernisation path tailored to its national reality, and encourage exchange and mutual learning, so that all will flourish and prosper together,” he advised.

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