Yakunin: OBOR needs to look for a new cooperation model

254
Topics: INFRASTRUCTURE FOR DEVELOPMENT

The existing methods of global cooperation are not suitable for projects under the ‘Belt and Road Initiative’. Legal systems are too different among countries, financing methods that banks and financial institutions focus on for loans and investment returns are unacceptable. The Public Private Partnership model adopted in public infrastructure projects is far from adequate.
“’The Belt and Road Initiative’ is a global proposal that should not be limited to technology, financing, infrastructure, or political levels. That is why it is called an ‘initiative’ rather than a ‘project’”, Vladimir Yakunin, former chief of Russian Railways, and founder of the think tank, the DOC Research Institute, said. “The existing cooperation methods around the globe are not suited to the Belt and Road Initiative” Yakunin said during a Caixin Debate session at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) on 2 June.

More and more countries have joined the debate on the ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ since the plan was raised. “The ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ covers a wide range of subjects. It has raised new requirements for financial and economic cooperation models, rather than just discussions over building railways, roads, or energy pipelines, although these projects can also be developed under the initiative. What we should discuss is a new governance model, new economic cooperation, and new financial platforms. And we need to reach a consensus – for the development of all human societies,” Yakunin said.

“You have to know that these projects will have a profound social and economic impact on the development of the whole nation. I am not criticizing existing institutions, but we should look for new ways to boost cooperation among the international community, through the ‘Belt and Road Initiative’. We should not only think about financing a project or investment returns, but focus on how this can propel the development of the whole of society.” Yakunin pointed out that the ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ is only the first step towards global cooperation, and there will be more proposals to come in the future: “There shouldn’t be only one initiative in the world.”

The St. Petersburg International Economic Forum runs from 1 June to 3 June in St. Petersburg, Russia. The forum was first held in 1997. The theme of this year’s event is “Achieving a New Balance on the Global Stage”. This year’s Caixin Debate has “Building Eurasia Infrastructure Construction” as its theme. The debate focuses on global economic movements, and discussions on future infrastructure in Eurasia, including how to optimize economic models in public and private sectors, how to bring out the infrastructure potentials of Eurasia, and how to balance geopolitical layout and business setups.