Exploring Global Connectivity Initiatives—Global Gateway vs. Belt & Road Initiative

Written by Aysu Ahmad

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International Trade Agreements and Initiatives

International Trade agreements and Initiatives play a crucial role for regional connections and economic growth via reducing barriers in trade. It also mitigates political tensions, improving intellectual properity protection and complex supply chains. By promoting peaceful connections between nations, it also helps the improvement of third world countries. Global Gateway and Belt and Road Initiative are also two of them. Global Gateway is a strategy initiated by the EU to increase trade and connectivity in all industries across regions in order to achieve sustainability goals and invest in secure and quality infrastructure around the world. Sectors includes:

  • Digital
  • Climate and energy
  • Health
  • Transportation
  • Education.

Global Gateway aimed to make investments of up to 300 billion euros until 2027 via different funding opportunities to make transformational impacts. Global Gateway has been making partnerships with the main 6 EU values, which are:

  • Equal Partnerships
  • Good Governance and Transparency
  • Democracy
  • Security Focus
  • Catalysing Private Sector
  • Green and Clean

Worldwide strategy by the European Union

The Global Gateway Initiative

The Global Gateway Initiative has more than 90 member countries to make a better sustainable future with improvement while reinforcing their values and narrowing down the global investment gap with G7 countries. The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) was created by China to connect trade relations among Asia, Russia, Africa, and Europe and improve economic and regional integration. It is also called the 21st century’s Silk Road. The number of countries that have joined BRI is 138 as of March 2020. This initiative has been related to many mega projects, such as the development of ports, railways, roads, and airports. The initiative’s approximate cost is more than 1 trillion dollars. The BRI Green Development Coalition published guidance in 2020 on the necessity of environmental risk management, and they launched a color classification system for projects as a showcase of their environmental impact. The vision of BRI is to make a better world via:

  • Peace
  • Prosperity
  • Inclusive Collaboration
  • Innovation
  • Equality
  • Justice
  • Equity

The Belt and Road Initiative

Even though both, Global Gateway and BRI, are amazing projects with outstanding values and focuses, there are some burdens and barriers in the process of making them happen. The EU is a very bureaucratic union. It is challenged by environmental and social standards. However, the fact that Global Gateway makes value-based offers and more funding for country development rather than putting them in debt and loans, as how BRI functions while not being transparent during the process, gives competitive advantage to Team Europe.

Examples of such situations, which China gets control due to loans and debts, are Montengro’s failed highway project which enabled China to take control of the main port of Montenegro as well as seizing of Sri Lanka’s main port by China due to financial aggression which comes to political aspects of both initiatives.

The Global Gateway initiative is seen as a rival for Belt and Road Initiative by China because of their similarities in focus areas. EU’s geopolitical power over time is underthreat by China after BRI launched. China’s cooperation with Central and Eastern European countries is one of them showcase for the situation. Therefore, it is strategically beneficial for developing countries, which do not want to choose between US and China, to join Global Gateway’s investment option. Global Gateway initiative strengthen the countries not only economically, but do not get involved with the countries’ decision-making authorities which could have de-stabilize the countries. Additionally, “risk mitigation” works both ways; Just as developing countries can diversify their stock of foreign investments, the EU wants to realign parts of its supply chains from China to other, more reliable economies – a move known as ‘ally shoring’ or the concept of ‘friend shoring’.

Benefits for Developing Countries

Even though, China has been undeniable supplier for raw materials for green technologies, Global Gateway’s projects with Kazakhstan, Namibia, and Democratic Republic of Congo secure the critical materials needed for the green energy and technologies. Global Gateway’s
practices and dependence from private sector can be one of its powerful features. With wisdom and modesty, Global Gateway can achieve the goals with long-lasting influence in tolerable cost while protecting the values. All these approaches and vision make Global Gateway a better option for Belt and Road Initiative for developing countries.

I am Aysu Ahmad, a business management student at Odisee University. Global problems and solving strategies have always caught my attention. Therefore, I owe it to myself to join the Conference on the Future of Europe- YEAs Edition with Young European Ambassadors. I was the youngest participant in the conference. Additionally, I am a Young European Ambassador and Global Peace Ambassador, and I regularly attend and host many conferences and forums of the United Nations and the European Union, such as the European Year of Youth Conference and many more.

Furthermore, I had a valuable time at the European School Summer Camp twenty twenty-one Virtual Exchange by EaP with one hundred twenty-five of my peers from eight different EaP countries. We discussed and gained new knowledge about the importance of youth participation in solving global problems, the development of youth policy, and the contribution that young people can make as active citizens. Moreover, I have recently participated in the Sustainable Leaders Summit in the EU Parliament to showcase my passion for sustainability and climate change action.