2013 was a turning point in the quest of a multipolar world order. Chinese President Xi Jinping introduced the initiative of building the Silk Road Economic Belt and Maritime Silk Road in his visit to Central Asia and Southeast Asia. The idea behind was revitalizing the ancient Silk Road with today’s sovereign nation states multilaterally. If 20th century was an era of development of nation states in the given territory, 21st should be when those states prosper all together without leaving the hinterlands behind.
This initiative was planned to increase regional cooperation on four pillars: the trend toward a multipolar world, economic globalization, cultural diversity and greater IT application. Open world economy and global free trade regime are mentioned as the main values of BRI and 100% compliance with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence were especially underlined: mutual respect for each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual nonaggression, mutual noninterference in each other’s internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence.
In an ever-increasing level of globalization, it was made sure that BRI follows “the market operation” and it has enough room for all wishing countries and it was not limited to, the area of the ancient Silk Road. All BRI countries are encouraged to cooperate in both old and new economies. Mutual investment areas should be discovered; agriculture, animal husbandry and fisheries, deep sea fishing, aquatic products, agricultural machinery manufacturing and farm produce processing would be on the agenda; environmental issues such as seawater desalination, biotechnology, environmental-friendly production technologies and cultural issues such as culture expos, book fairs and international film festivals; tourism(organizing tourism promotion weeks and joint events) and lastly academic cooperation (from exchange programs to joint curriculum) would be covered multilaterally
Several financial institutions were pointed or assigned to fuel the BRI project. Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and BRICS New Development Bank, conduct negotiation among related parties on establishing Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) financing institution, and set up and put into operation the Silk Road Fund as early as possible. Renminbi bonds were allowed to countries and companies that would be investing in line with BRI projects.
In five years, the BRI has become a club of nearly 70 countries with a population more than half of the planet (4.8 billion) and more than half of the global GDP ($21 Trillion). This power meant 65 % and 30 % of global land- and maritime-based economic production respectively. According to The Fitch ratings agency US$ 900 billion in projects were already planned or underway in 2017 to undertake the goals BRI brought to such a huge club!
Even though it was defined as “Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation” in the beginning; apparently it is or it has to be more to reach a level of true regional cooperation. As in all the multilateral projects, BRI needed to be supported by business leaders and chambers. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that BRICA came out of that need. As of today 31 of leading business associations from 29 countries are BRICA members.
BRICA Istanbul Summit will try to find answers to questions in a 2 days marathon of seminars and discussions. The businesspeople, academicians and bureaucrats will share their opinions from digitalization to urbanization; culture to investment opportunities.