UAE's connectivity will boost BRI
The increased connectivity, financial integration, stronger trade flows and bonds will act as propellers essential in a future which will be a shared one.
It is the Silk Road spirit that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) seeks to revive: the spirit of peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, and mutual learning and benefit. The cultural and historic heritage shared by countries, which contributed greatly to the prosperity of the nations along the route assumes significance in the present-day complex international and regional situation mired in a weak global economy. The BRI, a long-term transcontinental investment initiative aimed at infrastructure development and acceleration of economic integration, will connect Asia, Europe and Africa and their adjacent seas, establish partnerships among the countries along the road and set up connectivity networks for sustainable development. Unveiled in 2013 by Xi Jinping, China's President, the BRI currently has over 70 countries in its fold representing two-thirds of the world's population and over a third of the world's GDP. The UAE, a bedrock for industrialisation and trade, jumped on to the BRI bandwagon and is ranked third in the global index of nations that stand to benefit most from the initiative.
Beyond commercial opportunities, the UAE and China have common touch points.
While China is becoming a leader in renewable energy, the UAE is actively diversifying to get ready for the post-oil era. And when the focus is less on fossil fuel and more on manufactured imports and high-tech joint ventures, both countries can benefit. The vision and dynamism, and the motivation to overcome obstacles are shared values which will help further cooperation and growth. The UAE, though, does have a rival in Singapore in financial hub status and the country has to shore up its physical infrastructure development programmes. However, notwithstanding the criticism against the BRI - the UAE with Khalifa Port, the second largest port in the world - and other facilities can become the lynchpin bringing in innovation, new services and create access to new markets engaging its shipping, industrial and logistics industry. The UAE can thus be a connection point, vital since investment flow from China to the world can be accelerated. The increased connectivity, policy coordination, financial integration, unhindered trade and stronger bonds will act as strategic propellers essential in a future which will be a shared one.