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2017
Asia Needs more Dialogue
Solutions to urban pollution may prove complex
Spread of ESGs could herald new global movement
Investing in quality education is imperative if India wants to reap demographic dividends
China needs to lead in new multi-stakeholder world
China’s B&R initiative leading a resurgence of Asia
Education is key - but long-term: Can we survive?
New wave of robots will be beneficial to all
China needs to continue with its ‘heavy lifting’
Time is right for Chinese firms to invest in Europe
Robots to the rescue for China?
Asian Multinationals are Going Global, But to Where?
China ratchets forward with energy efforts
China’s calm necessary for globalization push
Bridging managerial gaps involves trust-building
China well-placed to power its future through green technology advances
China's new 'springtime' is here
2016
China’s moves show it’s banking on the future
Mindset for action at the G20 summit will be determined by Chinese presidency
Chinese head-hunting intensifies for rare managers that can steer overseas firms
US talk of isolation jars with growing links in Europe and Asia
Electoral rhetoric on global trade not in sync with reality
Is it time to be prudent and consider austerity policies again?
What will we do if we have no oil?
Unlock talent by finding the right fit for a person
The benefits are real and tangible
Trade along China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ won’t succeed without the currency of trust
Reasons for optimism about the long term
2015
Can big oil go green and win?
Poorer Nations Could Sway Climate Talks
Combating Idleness and Deprivation
How China can be a model of food sustainability for the developing world
Kyoto II – Is it a Done Deal?
A meeting of the two largest economic powers
Why China will experience a 'soft' landing
Beware of superstitions
The Elephant and Dragon move ahead
G-7 target on fossil fuels raises many questions
Why Battle for Net Neutrality in the US Matters Globally
China’s resurgence – the ‘normal new’
Wanted: A managerial culture that embraces cultural differences
China's early education plan a smart investment in the future
The New Normal for China and India
2014
China's infrastructure push offers a sure track to better growth
US-China climate pact a good start, but not quite enough
Rethink the human’s place in the ‘digital revolution’
China springs a carbon surprise
Infrastructure - the invisible hand in full view
Dialogue vital for survival of Iraqi nation
China must nurture a new generation of beautiful minds
Great expectations in China and India
GM Cereals – The Pros and Corns
Time to be Honest about Our Energy Prospects
Weathering the Storm of Climate Change
Making a Big Decision? Beware of Your Biases
West Deserves Better Logistics Infrastructure
Digital Currencies do Represent the Future
From 'Printed' Houses to Wooden Skyscrapers
It’s time to bail out our schools, not our firms
Solution to India’s housing shortage – print new ones!
And the most promising green technologies of 2014 are ...
Transport infrastructure key to domestic, export growth
Oil stopgaps: Not worth risking
2013
Why the US should grant Edward Snowden amnesty
May we be more optimistic!
China headed for another massive social experiment?
A dialogue that worked
Yes, politicians deserve vacations - because we benefit
NPOs, NGOs invaluable as creators of dialogue
Look closer and ask: Is America reinventing itself?
Boston bombings case underlines need for dialogue
Millennium Development Goals or own goals?
As usual it's about balance - and timing - of course
Chinese strategists make right moves for growth
2012
Preparing for tomorrow
Austerity or growth?
Japan in danger of becoming 'just a place to fly over'
Beware of the business cycle?
An inconvenient truth
Limited offer sale: Buy a country
Where did our money go?
Leading from behind - a year of elections is almost over
Driving towards a green future
Waiting for springtime
Preserve or Perish
Startlingly similar Asia policy for Obama, Romney
Globalisation remains an irresistible trend
Google has the edge in smartphone war
U.S. Braces for China's Rise
Mankind’s General Scourge
The summer holidays are over and nothing has changed!
Put the hidden trillions to work
Making sense of India’s woes and wonders
Storm in a teacup!
Let’s give bad bankers a venue to admit their sins
News is about depth, not puff or velocity
Booming India, but too few toilets
Delayed Court decisions doesn't mean one may continue to play 'Great Game'
We need media to reflect on data and offer public a balanced view
Big polluters can lead in forging common purpose
The weighty issue of choosing a leader
EU-India Relations - Facing similar challenges
Educating with a goal
The Judicial Malaise
We are growing out, but not growing up
EU´s retrenchment enigma
Urbulence in the Eurozone and the effect on SMEs
Skolkovo May Help Russia to Diversify
Make things more effective
Tapping into the Commonwealth connection
Innovative models for public finance
Facebook revolution but Indian style
The feel-good factor
Asian investors - a private equity opportunity
India needs to be taller and stronger
China´s low sales volume...
Nations playing leapfrog
Shafts of sunlight
What webs we weave
As performers go to Davos, the circus steals the show
Can we control the politicians?
 
2011
Europe’s reminiscence
China firms should go for win-win in overseas ventures
Of procrastination...
Making sense of profiteering
Truth about financial mess must be laid bare
Small is also beautiful
China can help Europe with debt crisis
Excising the cancer of global corruption
Education, a critical asset
Arab uprisings set in motion forces of creative destruction
A new era of change
We must ensure better education for all
Beijing wary of bankrolling a lost cause
Asean's re-emergence as a local and global leader
Why India's Role in the Global Economy is Still Work in Progress
Its the leadership, stupid!
Reverse globalisation: The new buzzword
Trade along China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ won’t succeed without the currency of trust
By Frank-Jürgen Richter
South China Morning Post, February 24, 2016
 

Frank-Jürgen Richter says inherited cultural and political attitudes in Central Asian countries, which are key partners of the Chinese-initiated project, mean there is much work to be done to foster cooperation.

The International Monetary Fund and OECD have forecast global growth will be about 3 per cent, rather than the traditional average of almost 4 per cent. This seems about right, given that the economies of most developed and major developing economies are struggling, for many reasons.

The first is due to the enmeshed cogs of globalisation which determines that, if part of the economy slows, it all slows, though not in each sector instantly.

Second, looking to a fantasy future when all nations become developed, surely global growth must be zero as all we manufacture would be for replacement. A reduction of the 4 per cent average is to be expected as the old nations are already developed and the massive Asian nations, while still claiming developing status, are in many respects developed, so they will exhibit slower growth. Thus, China’s growth might soon be 5 per cent, according to some pessimists.

However, ahead of the G20 meeting of finance heads in Shanghai this week, China has announced US$61 billion in local infrastructure investments to “fill out” earlier investments and has emphasised its economy is in good health. Goldman Sachs has chided investors, both private and institutional, saying the only real issue is “fear itself”: investors ought to stand steadfast.

When President Xi Jinping visited Central and Southeast Asia in late 2013, he announced his new “One Belt, One Road” initiative to jointly redevelop local economies and infrastructure, building on China’s growth.

The belt and road will track along the historic Silk Road across land and via maritime routes throughout Eurasia. Over land, it reaches across Central Asian countries to link with Europe as the “Silk Road Economic Belt”; and, via the sea, the “Maritime Silk Road” will redevelop many ports in the South China Sea and the Pacific and Indian oceans.

Unlike the original Silk Road development 1,000 years ago, when the people along the road knew of little beyond their short trading journeys to the nearby market towns, most today know about the other nations via TV and the media. But few, even now, really understand how to trade with others – mistakes are and will continue to be made.

We often hear excuses about failures to make a deal stick, although the initial opportunities looked good. We tend to blame others’ cultural differences. Really, though, shouldn’t we look to ourselves, and perhaps examine our knowledge of others, their situation and their history?

When we understand where we and others come from, and others’ beliefs and traditions, then jointly we can build a better future.

Old Soviet behaviour and mindsets are embedded in many Central Asian states which have, to an extent, limited their broad development. With regard to roads and rail logistics, Chinese managers will have much to teach to ensure the free flow of materials linking to the east and the west.

Mutual suspicion will need to be tempered by careful analysis and teach-ins, as well as through learning each other’s languages: no small undertaking. These aspects are important, given that one goal of the Chinese initiative is to develop a strong economic belt along the road.

China’s altruism in promoting “One Belt, One Road” could be construed as economic exploitation, especially as the investment status of Central Asian states has been downgraded by ratings agencies, such as Standard & Poor’s. In fact, most oil-based economies have been downgraded recently, given that their fiscal budgets were created with the expectation of oil prices at US$80 a barrel and upwards. Currently, none of the Opec nations are anywhere close to breaking even, with oil at US$30 a barrel.

Thus, the mineral-rich Central Asian nations are cash-strapped and need considerable aid to redevelop. China can supply the financial and in-kind aid through deployment of staff across many sectors – but I fear the hosts may resent or misunderstand the mutual benefits that can evolve.

It is said that a strong economy develops personal wealth and well-being for the populace while also minimising discontent. Think tanks, commentators and the media can aid Central Asia’s redevelopment across a wider spectrum of commercialism than its present reliance on fossil fuel sales. Communicators can analyse and clarify the “grand plans” to help reduce popular anxiety.

Increasingly, better communication of goals will be necessary after 2020 when all nations ought to have ratified the “Kyoto II Protocol”. All agreed at the UN climate change meeting in Paris last December to reduce atmospheric pollution, giving themselves until 2020 to agree on details. The use of coal will be strongly reduced in favour of oil and, better still, gas, to generate electricity – but it will be green energy from renewables like sunlight, wind and hydropower that everyone will concentrate on.

There will be ample opportunity for Central Asia to join this revolution. The future could look bright for China, Central Asian nations and the world. All it will take is for trust and cooperation to be nurtured along the route.

 

Dr Frank-Jürgen Richter is founder and chairman of Horasis, a global visions community.

 


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