Another wave of COVID-19 pandemic hits the continents, and Asia is no exception. Leaders have implemented measures to prevent the widespread of the pandemic. Despite measures taken, lock-down cities result in halt in productivity. The sudden freeze of workforce means a lack of income for the poor. The continuous work suspension may turn into social risk in some countries. The COVID-19 brings uncertainties to the world and the global economy is expected to surge in the next quarter.
We need jobs. The unemployment rate and underemployment rate in many countries are rocketing. Governments are eager to secure jobs for their civilians. Countries are spending huge amount of expenditures in quelling the COVID-19 pandemic. Investors withhold or withdraw capitals. Factories and plants are suspended. Job roles are vaporized in the job market and recession follows.
The Belt and Road Initiatives (BRI) countries are not immune from the dreadful pandemic. However, the drawbacks are negated and offset by BRI opportunities. Generally, in some countries, as a result of the COVID-19, BRI infrastructure projects have been delayed or stopped temporarily by the COVID-preventive measures, but such projects are unlikely to be cancelled. In other words, we expect the OFDI to continue to flow into various BRI countries. The economy and GDP would still be subjected to a positive growth for these BRI countries. After benefiting from the BRI project initiatives, jobs are secured, the supply chain functions as normal. The involved countries are over-flooded with opportunities.
Now, the pandemic steals the paces for development; but the BRI lead by China restores, multiplies and even accelerates it. The opportunities generated by the One Belt One Road, in some ways may cure the partial damage of the economies incurred by COVID-19. Capitals are pooled and jobs are assured. Countries can recover from the COVID-driven recession and aftermaths when BRI projects resume.
Opportunities are not only available to BRI countries but are also opened to others willing to join the loop. Countries and international bodies are welcome to participate in the BRI community. Every member country gives and takes, contributes to the betterment of the global village. Experts expect the COVID-19 would still last for months and early 2021 would be a turning point once the pandemic is controlled after the vaccine injections are widely adopted.
Countries should formulate plans for early recovery from the economic contraction crisis. Infrastructures well-position and direct the economy to an upward trend. Employment follows. The BRI no doubt regains a country’s kinetic after the COVID-driven recession and shines on COVID-invaded regions and gives them hope and jobs. Let’s hopefully bid a farewell to COVID-19 sooner and welcome BRI opportunities instead.
**The facts and views expressed are solely that of the author and do not necessarily reflect that of the editorial board