WB allocates $8B for infrastructure projects of Chinese initiative
The World Bank allocated about $8 billion for infrastructure projects of the Chinese initiative - Silk Road Economic Belt.
This was stated by World Bank President Jim Yong Kim on September 12 at a roundtable with the heads of international financial and economic organizations in the "6 + 1" format, TASS reported.
"The World Bank has already provided a total of about $8 billion to help develop infrastructure within the framework of the Silk Road Economic Belt. The investment, especially in infrastructure, is extremely important. The Chinese initiative of the Silk Road Economic Belt catalyzes infrastructure investments," he said.
Kim noted that the World Bank will help the countries of this initiative to take maximum advantage of the opportunities provided, in accordance with their own development strategies.
Azerbaijan is a key link in the Silk Road Economic Belt, the Chinese vision for a route connecting Asia, Europe and the rest of the world. China has huge development projects in this region, involving billions of dollars of investment and trade.
In 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping put forward the Silk Road Economic Belt initiative, signifying multidirectional cooperation between Eastern and Western countries throughout Central Asia and the Caucasus region.
In 2015 Chinese President Xi Jinping and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev signed "Memorandum of Understanding on Promotion of Silk Road Economic Belt Construction between Chinese and Azerbaijani Governments".
Azerbaijan is the pivotal point of the China-Central Asia-West Asia Economic Corridor. The country has a long history of welcoming merchants from land and sea due to its proximity to Asia and Europe since the time of the ancient Silk Road.
The Silk Road Economic Belt comprises 6 corridors which connect five central Asian countries, Iran and the Persian Gulf region, Transcaucasia, Turkey and the Saudi Arabian Peninsula.
Traditionally, trade between China and West Asia takes place mostly via maritime routes, and the China-Central Asia-West Asia Economic Corridor is a land-based substitute for these traditional routes.
The shortest way to approach West Asia from China is via Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. China is the manufacturer of the world's fastest and most luxurious trains and a rail track is already operational from Aktau and Turkmenbashi, transporting goods to the New Baku International Sea Trade Port and then westward to Turkey and Europe.
In August 2015, the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route was launched; the Nomad Express, carrying goods from China's Shihezi, traveled through the port of Aktau and arrived at Baku.
The North-South Transport Corridor is under construction and will connect Iran and Russia, providing road access from Indian Ocean countries to Europe and Central Asia.
Azerbaijan has signed agreements for multiple trans-Caspian international transport routes with Kazakhstan and Georgia, and even initiated the Trans Caspian transport consortium to operate the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route from China to Europe.
Azerbaijan is a major supporter of the Transport Corridor Europe-Caucasus-Asia project, initiated by the EU and considered the backbone of the Silk Road.
According to estimates, the trans-Caspian route could be transporting around 300,000-400,000 containers by 2020, bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars.