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Belt and Road Initiative beneficial for regional prosperity: IMF official

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-05-06 13:10

YOKOHAMA — The Belt and Road Initiative is very important and will certainly have a good impact on regional growth and prosperity, said Mitsuhiro Furusawa, deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), on Saturday.

Proposed by China in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, aiming at building a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient trade routes of Silk Road.

The initiative is very important to foster regional cooperation in areas of trade, investment and finance and to provide much needed infrastructure for the region, Furusawa said in an exclusive interview with Xinhua here on the sidelines of the 50th annual meeting of the Asian Development Bank.

Furusawa said, "Global growth is picking up, and also in China ... We see the growth momentum," he said.

Last month, the IMF upgraded its forecast for China's economic growth in 2017 to 6.6 percent, and global economic growth to 3.5 percent, both up 0.1 percentage points from its January projections.

As for the ongoing process of the Chinese RMB's internationalization, he said that it is both beneficial for China and for other countries.

"The Chinese currency's internationalization goes hand in hand with Chinese economic growth. We hope that Chinese RMB will be internationalized, as it was already included in SDR basket of currencies," he said.

This year marked the 20th anniversary of the Asian financial crisis in 1997. Furusawa said that the world has learned a lot from the Asian financial crisis.

"Good policies are the best defense," he said, adding that a lot of progress has been made by Asian countries to prevent a recurrence of the crisis, including having more flexible exchange systems, enhancing regional cooperation, and creating financial safety nets.

The IMF is also making its own contributions to this progress, with its various tools, policy advice and financial assistance, and by creating a stronger global financial safety net, he added.

"There are always risks and challenges ... We should always wrestle with those challenges," he said.

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