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How Belt and Road can be 'future-proofed'

By Stuart Gietel-Basten ( China Daily ) Updated: 2017-06-19 07:06:55

There are many reasons why China is pursuing the Belt and Road Initiative. However, one of the least discussed - but perhaps most significant - is related to population.

Readers of China Daily will be familiar with the demographic challenges China is likely to face in the next decades. A rapidly aging population, coupled with the drying up of surplus rural workforce, means China's status as the "factory of the world" is under grave threat.

One thing which almost all of the countries involved in the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road have in common is demographic conditions that are favorable to rapid industrial growth. Along with a large, young working-age population, the potential for economic growth is multiplied by the majority of current jobs being in low-productivity areas such as agriculture or informal, family work. Indeed, a transition toward "decent employment" with social and job security, rights and other requirements would be truly a welcome development.

How Belt and Road can be 'future-proofed'

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