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A World first: An Olympic champion, a royal family, and a 90-day relay across over 40 Belt and Road regions

Updated: 2019-04-26 16:34
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Ahead of the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation late April in Beijing set to be attended by high-level representatives from 100 countries and regions, a group of athletes is making history with a 90-day relay across Belt and Road regions.

Since first announced in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a "grand plan to connect Asia, Africa and Europe", according to the Guardian, has been in the foreground of discussion and debate across the world.

The initiative has spurred a number of supporting government and business supporting events and campaigns – among which is Standard Chartered's historic relay across over 40 markets and four regions along the Belt and Road.

The bank has a presence in these markets and regions, and the relay will take almost three months to complete, led by eight staff athletes based in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe and the Americas.

The group, self-christened the Great Eight, have set off on their journey, and along the way they've already met a royal family and an Olympic champion – take a look at where it's taken them.

Standard Chartered CEO Bill Winters joins the group to kick the relay off in Hong Kong, a region where the bank's presence dates back to 1859 and where it's sponsored the local marathon since 1997. [Photo provided to]
The Great Eight meet the Saudi Arabian royal family. The group's relay marks the first running event where women and men are allowed to run together in Saudi Arabia. [Photo provided to]
The group warm up and do their stretches in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. [Photo provided to]
In Kenya, home to many world-class marathon runners, Henry, who works in the bank's China office, got to meet Olympic champion Henry Wanyoike in Nairobi. [Photo provided to]
In Sri Lanka, the group took in the Port of Colombo and the financial district constructed by Chinese companies (all Standard Chartered Bank clients), typical of BRI projects. [Photo provided to]
In Pakistan the group heard how the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, launched in 2013, has created more than 70,000 jobs, with an expected further 300,000 by 2030. [Photo provided to]
The group saw how two of history's oldest civilizations, Egypt and China, have united in BRI. Chinese developers and companies are investing heavily in the development of the country, as Egypt's economy opens up to attract foreign investment across infrastructure, trade, investment, services and supply-chain. [Photo provied to]
In Laos the group got to see the results of BRI in the many projects they got to check out along their way. [Photo provided to]
The Great Eight's Henry recalled that his first engagement with Brunei came in 2012, when he approached a Chinese petrochemical producer with an investment plan for the country. Today the project is about to commence operation, and Standard Chartered Brunei will provide banking services as the only fully licensed international bank in the nation. [Photo provided to]


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