Peace and stability in Africa are tied to economic development, Chinese scholars and others argued last week in Berlin.
The high-level seminar in Berlin hosted by the Schiller Institute on August 29 was meant to provide a truthful report on the significance, and the progress, of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), especially regarding developments in Southwest Asia and Africa.
The scholars argued that for peace to take root, there should be a commitment to real economic development centered on advances in science and application of new technologies.
Forty-five people were present, including representatives of the Mittlestand, diplomatic community, and other institutions.
A visiting delegation of scholars from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), an important academic organization and research center, presented papers on the role of the BRI in stabilizing the region through economic development.
Moderator Stephan Ossenkopf from the Schiller Institute opened the event by emphasizing that there is an urgent need for a “rational dialogue” on what the Chinese are actually doing, as opposed to the negative reports in the Western media.
The BRI is not a unilateral, imperial project, but one which is comprehensive and inclusive, Ossenkopf said.
The keynote, from Institute Chairwoman Helga Zepp-LaRouche asserted that the BRI is “the most important strategic policy on the agenda.”
The speed of its growth in the last six years has been amazing, she said, and is of particular importance for rebuilding the war-torn nations of Southwest Asia, and overcoming the suppression of nations in Africa, where Europe could have contributed to their industrialization, but obviously has not.
Instead of allowing the opponents of development to turn China into an “enemy,” it must be seen that what China is doing is necessary for peace and stability, and should be joined by Western governments, especially the United States.
Reviewing the present strategic crisis, which has worsened due to the unleashing by the British Empire of destabilizations around the world, including against China, Iran, etc., Zepp-LaRouche said that Europe has an important role to play, were leading nations to free themselves from geopolitical strategic orientation. For example, she spoke of the tremendous potential for German small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) in joint ventures in third countries, explaining that the policies of the present government do not favor that potential. She emphasized that key to creating change in the Trans-Atlantic region is to inspire optimism, by an emphasis on the potential unleashed by especially the new initiatives in space exploration. We must think at least 50 years ahead, she said, and reject the pessimism which is being spread by the Greenies and the financiers who back them.
The speakers from the CASS were: delegation leader Professor Tang on “China’s Concept on Security and Middle East Security,” who provided a broad view of the approach of the BRI; Professor Yu, who spoke on “BRI and the Peace between Palestine and Israel,” emphasizing the importance of economic development for Palestine, which is essential to realize the two-state solution to the ongoing crisis; Professor Wang, on “BRI in the Gulf Cooperation Council and Gulf Security”; Dr. Wei on “Iraq’s Reconstruction and China’s Role,” in which he highlighted the difficulties in rebuilding a nation that was subjected to a war which destroyed much of its infrastructure; and Dr. Zhu, who spoke on “BRI in Egypt and China-Egypt Cooperation,” presenting an optimistic evaluation of how the cooperation between the two states has provided tangible benefits.
Other speakers from the Schiller Institute were Hussein Askary, co-author of the Institute’s special report “Extending the New Silk Road to West Asia and Africa,” who gave an impassioned report on progress of the BRI in the two regions; and Claudio Celani, whose report on the February 2018 Abuja conference on replenishing Lake Chad and the Transaqua project, provided a concrete picture of what is possible with international cooperation—but also the obstacles created by international financial institutions and their geopolitical strategies which must be overcome.There were questions from the audience after each presentation, evidence of a hunger for real solutions, and a desire to draw out more of the thinking of the representatives from the CASS. Several questions were directed to Helga Zepp-LaRouche, including one on Malthusianism, another on the India-Pakistan crisis.