Keynote Address II

Development as Solution: Understanding the Drivers of “Green BRI”

A former World Bank Chief Economist describes China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as a process of co-development among global South countries in a “wild geese pattern” with China as one of the “leading geese” that others follow. In this way, BRI is neither just targeted economic exploitation nor a collection of random business activities, but a combination that involves unleashing the development potential of both China and recipient countries through a transfer of China’s development experience. This conception of BRI defies the conventional model of “greening BRI,” which treats it as a regulatory problem. China’s own development, including its booming renewables sector and energy efficiency improvements, has by and large not been a regulatory story, but one dominated by coordinated industrial and development policy. While the emergence of a stronger environmental regulatory system in recent years has been important for limiting end-of-pipe industrial pollution, economic restructuring is a key component of China’s “war on pollution.” Ma’s keynote proposes that the “Green BRI” conversation must be a developmental conversation that involves not just regulators on both sides, but also development and industrial policy actors.


  • Tianjie Ma, China Dialogue/Panda Paw Dragon Claw (Video Presentation)