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The Belt and Road Initiative is all about international cooperation. Facility connectivity is a key realm for cooperation if the needs of both the supply and demand sides are properly analyzed. More than three years of construction under the Belt and Road Initiative has yielded remarkable results in terms of facility connectivity.
Developed infrastructure will surely promote economic development and improve people’s livelihoods. Weak infrastructure has been a major factor hindering the economic development of many countries along the Belt and Road. Around 500 million people in the region lack consistent electricity, half of the population lacks internet access and millions lack safe drinking water.
Reinforcing infrastructure creates a sound environment for regional economic and trade cooperation, which enables different countries to complement each other and prosper together. Infrastructure connectivity is a pillar of trade, funding allocation, personnel mobility, and industrial cooperation. Global experience has shown that deepened regional economic cooperation cannot be achieved without improved infrastructure connectivity. A popular saying from China’s experience of reform and opening up in the past several decades declares: “Build roads first before you want to build wealth.” When transport passageways and infrastructure networks are in place, resources, production, markets, and technologies can better commingle.
Extensive global consensus has been reached on infrastructure construction and connectivity. Many countries have prioritized infrastructure and launched bold implementation plans. Chinese enterprises excel at construction engineering, and “built by China” projects have earned a sterling global reputation due to exceptional quality at reasonable prices. In 2016, 65 outstanding Chinese enterprises were featured in Engineering News-Record, a renowned American weekly magazine focused on the construction industry, and China topped its national rankings. Infrastructure projects are generally large in scale and take a longer period of time to complete. These factors would contribute to confidence-building among the parties involved in Belt and Road cooperation.