The Executive Director of the Africa-China Centre for Policy & Advisory (ACCPA), Paul Frimpong, was among the global think tank scholars invited to participate in and deliver a speech at the 3rd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation held in Beijing on October 17–18, 2023.

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a global infrastructure development vision empowered by China. In 2013, China’s President, Xi Jinping, first officially announced the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

The BRI has become a global initiative aimed at building critical infrastructures to create connectivity spanning the three continents of Africa, Asia, and Europe to facilitate greater global growth and development.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the BRI, and the forum has attracted over 4000 delegates from over 140 countries worldwide.

As of August 2023, 155 countries were listed as having signed up to the BRI. Nearly 75% of the world’s population and more than half of its GDP are represented by the participating nations.

BRI has generated nearly $1 trillion in investment, 3,000+ cooperation projects, and created over 420,000 jobs.

Mr. Frimpong delivered a speech on the parallel theme of ‘Youth Development and BRI’ at the Belt and Road Studies Network Plenary Meeting as part of a global think tank of scholars. This is a thematic forum that forms part of the 3rd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, held in Beijing, China’s capital.

[IMAGE] Paul Frimpong, Executive Director, ACCPA, delivering a speech at the parallel session on Youth Development and BRI in Beijing, China.

He spoke optimistically about the enormous economic opportunities that the BRI can bring to the African continent, as investment in critical infrastructure will unlock the full economic potential of the continent.

“I strongly believe that the Belt and Road Initiative’s objective of global connectivity, putting infrastructure development at the center, tells the story and aspirations of Africans,”. he said

He further advocated for young people to be empowered and engaged actively in the BRI, especially in Africa, which has the youngest population.

[IMAGE] ACCPA’s Executive Director, Paul Frimpong seated at the Thematic Forum on Think Tank Exchange of the 3rd Belt & Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing.

According to Mr. Frimpong, “for an initiative such as BRI, which seeks to accelerate shared growth and sustainable development around the world through enhanced connectivity, young people must be both active participants and significant beneficiaries”. He called on all key stakeholders tasked with championing the next phase of the BRI to put the youth at the center of their initiatives and support youth-led programs that seek to propel a deeper understanding of the BRI, especially in Africa

Written by: Mercy Tedeku, Research Associate, ACCPA

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