Multilateralism has always been an integral part of President Xi Jinping’s foreign policy. President Xi’s philosophy of shared prosperity and humanitarianism echoed far and wide during the recent World Economic Forum (WEF) where, while addressing the world in the virtual event held at Davos, President Xi called for global cooperation in economic, social, environmental and political horizons.
Through his rhetoric, he not only assailed the dangerous tilt towards populist regimes but also refuted reports of alleged rollback of BRI and CPEC.
The possibilities of economic recovery
Xi’s speech comes at a time when the economic recession has hit all segments of life badly. According to World Bank statistics, as the world struggles with the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, the global economy shrunk by 5.2% in 2020 with chances of slow recovery in 2021, that too depending upon the curtailment of the second wave of coronavirus.
Likewise, the global Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) plunged by more than 40% in 2020 and UNCTAD projections portray a gloomy picture for 2021 as well. On top of that, the expected decrease of about 3.6% in per-capita income, as per estimates of WHO for 2021, will further tip millions into the shackles of extreme poverty.
In such circumstances, the speech given by President Xi gives new hope of substantial economic recovery to all the countries around the globe.
Read more: Xi Jing Ping: President for life?
For the past few years, the world is caught in the war of nationalism and conflicting political ideologies. Based on the emerging populist regimes, the multilateral institutions are also not performing up to par owing to the shift in world policies.
Consequently, the ever-increasing economic and social division between developing and developed countries could not be abridged by these chauvinist regimes.
The Corona pandemic was another great blow to the economic inequalities among the “Global South” and “Global North”. However, through its idea of openness and sustainable development, China’s plan of multilateral economic development offers ways to diffuse such inequalities.
Impact of China’s multilateral governance
The system of global governance, as portrayed by President Xi, encompasses an alliance of both developed and under-developed nations based on equality and mutual respect. The said system, based on South-South development cooperation, could aid in fast economic progression.
This development is particularly beneficial for low-income countries hit by far worst economic and structural repercussions than the developed countries during the pandemic. Subsequent China’s zero-sum international strategy, comprising of different projects posed as models of cooperation, offers a highly pragmatic and win-win economic policy for all.
Additionally, China’s trading strategy and its emergence as the world’s second-largest economy represents an outright rejection of beggar-thy-neighbour policies adopted by imperial powers for centuries. Due to the said diverse economic blueprint, China was also quick to recover from the after-effects of the Corona pandemic.
As per IMF economic estimates, China was one of the only developing economies which not only showed a positive growth rate in 2020 but is also expected to achieve a growth rate of 7.9% in the next year as well despite a growing pandemic.
Additionally, due to its stable approach and the increasing role of digitalization, China is expected to surpass the US economy by 2028. Thus, the alliance of developing countries under the leadership of China is the biggest ray of hope for quick economic recovery.
Gains for the developing economies
One of the most striking aspects of China’s global economic outlook is Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Despite western propaganda, China aims to launch an innovative green development policy for aiding other developing nations to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Additionally, the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is another historic step where China signed free trade deals with fourteen Asia Pacific countries comprising more than 30% of the world’s economic trade routes.
It is quite evident that the biggest beneficiaries of BRI would be the developing countries whose infrastructure would be upgraded to not only enhance their socio-economic development but also eradicate extreme poverty.
Multilateralism; the world’s only hope?
Thus, at a time when economic progress is dwindling and the future remains uncertain, the Chinese dream of shared and inclusive prosperity remains our only hope. China’s multilateral policies adhere to a world of harmony, dignity and territorial sovereignty where a mutually beneficial economic outlook could improve global governance.
Additionally, the prospects of South-South cooperation give rise to equitable development of poor and less developed states of the world. The economic model proposed by China is focused upon eradicating extreme poverty and hunger through different avenues of opportunities.
In the post-pandemic world, China aspires to bring the developing states at par with developed countries through its sustainable economic model.
Ms Aimen Babur is a Mechatronics engineer turned development enthusiast. She is currently working as a project assistant at the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI). Through her research, she aspires to give a voice to the youth and other marginalized communities of society. The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the editorial policy of Global Village Space.