Quality over quantity, multilateral involvement these are the things Standard Chartered Bank believes will make the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) successful in the long run, according to José Viñals, Chairman of Standard Chartered Bank.
Quality Over Quantity
“Chinese President Xi talked about no corruption, sustainability… all of those things to me are summarised in having good governance standards, high quality, taking into account interest of all shareholders,” Viñals said.
And in 2017, Standard Chartered announced it will offer at least 20 billion U.S. dollars in financing by 2020 to facilitate BRI projects. The bank achieved its goal during the first year, a performance the chairman deemed as “very good.”
Last year, Standard Chartered was involved actively in providing financial services and facilitating funding for circa 100 projects in a single year, based on Viñals.
But in the next two years, he stated that the aim is more sustainable project financing, rather than quantity of projects.
“All those things Xi mentioned hang together into the privilege quality over quantity. It’s a matter of no longer quantity. Of course, it will grow. But also it’s an issue of quality – more financing on sustainable projects, and green projects,” Viñals said.
The chairman also spoke of the significance of “good governance,” saying it would ensure sustainability in economics, ethics and the environment.
Private Sector Involvement
Viñals is calling for more private sector involvement, as private businesses can cover the funding gap as well as bring expertise to the BRI projects.
“The role of the private sector is critical, particularly for international banks, because we have covered the funding gap, covering the financing of the BRI infrastructures,” he said.
“Second we bring a lot of expertise to make the projects bankable. We do that by bringing in many cases, international organisations, multinational banks, global financial organisations, to guarantee to finance. So, in the end, the projects are de-risked; it’s attractive to investors.”
Moreover, the Chairman commented that “the importance of BRI is to serve economic purposes,” and good outcomes would determine success, not politics.
“If good things happen, the BRI will be more successful and more countries will join in. If you don’t have that, criticism will continue. Some are politically biased. But I think the importance of BRI is to serve an economic purpose. Good outcomes will define its success worldwide.”