Dominica to Reap Benefits from China's Belt and Road Initiative
By Ronda Luke
Fidel Grant, the Minister for Public Works, Public Utilities, and Digital Economy, recently returned from China, promising exciting news for Dominica's future. Following his two-day participation in the Third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF III) in Beijing, Grant declared the visit "very successful" during a press briefing held at the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in Morne Daniel.
The BRF III, held under the theme "High-quality Belt and Road Cooperation: Together for Common Development and Prosperity," has fortified Dominica's position within the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) - a global infrastructure development project initiated by President Xi Jinping of China in 2013. It aims to invest in over 150 countries and international organizations.
Grant was enthusiastic about the forum's outcomes, explaining that it had forged essential connections with countries and companies worldwide, primarily focusing on fostering economic growth and development. He emphasized that the BRI is a remarkable development tool, offering the world a much-needed catalyst for economic advancement.
Over 150 countries are participating in this initiative, and Dominica, along with several other Caribbean nations, is already witnessing the benefits. Grant expressed gratitude to the People's Republic of China for its unwavering support, emphasizing that the initiative creates vital connections among nations.
One of the critical areas of focus during the forum was the digital economy, which Grant considers pivotal for Dominica's growth. He highlighted the digital economy's potential to create opportunities for the youth and businesses in the country.
"We will see an increased focus on making sure technology is not only available but accessible to all," Grant noted. He firmly believes the digital economy will drive growth in several countries, including Dominica, in the coming years.
Moreover, the forum delved into governance and security issues, particularly in artificial intelligence (AI). A global AI initiative was launched, and China is working on AI regulations, which Grant believes will benefit Dominica soon.
Grant also disclosed that the government is investing over $70 million in loans to advance the development of the digital economy. This investment will not only improve the country's digital infrastructure but also contribute to education, training, and skill development.
The Belt and Road Initiative, having completed a decade, represents a significant development strategy with a global reach, aiming to bring mutual benefits to all parties involved. The Third Belt and Road Forum, held from October 17th to 18th, 2023, has underscored the continuing relevance of this initiative in promoting global economic development and cooperation. Dominica's participation in this transformative project, particularly in the digital economy realm, signals a promising future for the country and its people.