CCTV Interviews Yenching Scholars on the B&R Initiative


Recently, five Yenching Scholars were interviewed by China Central Television (CCTV) on the Belt & Road Initiative (一带一路). The scholars included Ravi Prasad (United Kingdom, University of Cambridge), Maximilian Romer (Germany, University of Leiden), Harriet Kariuki (Kenya, Harvard University), Nishat Kazmi (Pakistan, Maastricht University) and Grzegorz Stec (Poland, University of Oxford).

The scholars shared their views and hopes for the Belt & Road (B&R) Initiative; an idea conceived by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013. At its core, the initiative is a global infrastructure project that has the potential to catalyze development in countries around the world. Whilst still in its early stages, multiple billions of dollars have already been invested as part of the initiative. The recent B&R Summit in Beijing caught the attention of the world; President Xi Jinping described it as the “project of the century”.

Ravi Prasad (United Kingdom, University of Cambridge)
Ravi’s research focus is on the design of the B&R initiative, the nature of the infrastructure investments being made and the project’s financing. He is currently engaged in a project with the Center for New Structural Economics, a Beijing based international development think-tank, in advising the government of a large West African nation looking to benefit from the B&R initiative.    

Maximilian Romer(Germany, University of Leiden)

While his previous research focused on the conceptualization of the B&R in the context of evolving Chinese foreign policy, Maximilian is now focused on the sustainability of B&R. Specifically, he researches possible risks for the environment in Central Asia that might arise as the B&R moves forward. Furthermore, he looks for ways in which Europe and China can collaborate on the initiative.

Harriet Kariuki (Kenya, Harvard University)

Harriet’s research focus is on the future of Sino-African relations and the B&R Initiative is an important piece to this puzzle.She believes that the initiative can bring benefits to African nations through development of much-needed infrastructure and through transfer of labor-intensiveindustries to Africa. 

Nishat Kazmi (Pakistan, Maastricht University) 

Nishat is interested in Chinese regional development and reforms (particularly in Western provinces), the B&R Initiative in the context of Central Asia as well as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Nishat regards the B&R initiative as the major intercontinental economic development project of the century - which if implemented carefully - will positively impact lives of more than half of world’s population in over sixty countries.

Grzegorz Stec (Poland, University of Oxford)

Grzegorz researches ties between China and Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), in particular the 16+1 China-CEE Initiative, which seeks synergies with the Belt and Road Project. Within both initiatives Poland playsan important role as the largest among the 16 CEE countries and a major transportation hub within the railway part of Belt and Road connecting China with Europe. Currently, Grzegorz is researching the performance of China-CEE Fund - established as a part of 16+1 Initiative - in order to contribute to increasing the efficiency of China-CEE cooperation.

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