Belt and Road Program

Published on: 2017-09-27


China’s Belt and Road Initiative is set to transform the countries along the beyond, many of them emerging markets. The Institute aims to offer research-based insights to address the tremendous opportunities and challenges facing business leaders and policy makers involved with the Initiative.

HKSAR Government to Fund IEMS’ Belt and Road Project

The HKUST Institute for Emerging Market Studies is leading an interdisciplinary research project on “Trade and Investment under One Belt One Road (OBOR) and Implications for Hong Kong”. The 3-year project was recently awarded a grant of more than HKD 3 million from the Hong Kong SAR Government under the Strategic Public Policy Research (SPPR) Scheme after a competitive review.

Led by Albert Park, Director of the Institute and a Professor in the Economics Department, the research team also includes three other faculty members from the School of Business and Management–Edwin Lai and Alicia Garcia Herrero from the Department of Economics, and Abhiroop Mukherjee from the Department of Finance; as well as Naubahar Sharif and Barry Sautman from the Division of Social Science.

The project is composed of five inter-related studies addressing the following topics:

  • how OBOR will affect international trade flows, especially for China, Hong Kong, and OBOR countries;
  • how increased trade from OBOR may increase the use of the Renminbi in trade settlement, contributing to its internationalization;
  • how OBOR investments are implemented and their development impacts based on country case studies (including Pakistan, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sri Lanka, and Russia);
  • the development impacts of infrastructure projects as revealed by a road building project in India;
  • and the potential for Hong Kong financial institutions to provide capital and financial services for OBOR investments.

The researchers hope that their studies will provide valuable evidence-based insights that can help the Hong Kong SAR government to design optimal trade and investment policies to bolster Hong Kong’s future development.


The Program includes 6 IEMS Faculty Associates and a dedicated team of researchers:
[Faculty Assocites] Albert Park, Edwin Lai, Alicia Garcia Herrero, Abhiroop Mukherijee, Naubahar Sharif and Barry Sautman

[Post-doc Researchers] Chi Man Cheung and Angela Tritto


The Institute has published several policy briefs and working papers on the Belt and Road, with a focus on trade and investment.

[Report] Report on Geo-Economics of the Eurasian Heartland in collaboration with SKOLKVO Institute for Emerging Market Studies

[Thought Leadership Brief] China Cannot Finance the Belt and Road Alone by Alicia Garcia Herrero

[Thought Leadership Brief] China’s Belt and Road: Can Europe Expect Trade Gains? authored by Alicia Garcia Herrero

[Thought Leadership Brief] Localizing Chinese Enterprises in Africa: from Myths to Policies authored by Barry Sautman

[Thought Leadership Brief] Renminbi Internationalization: The Prospects of China’s Yuan as the Next Global Currency authored by Edwin Lai


[Policy and Business Talk] Opportunities from the Belt and Road, an executive education program co-organized with the Institute for Public Policy

[Policy and Business Talk] One Belt One Road: Impacts on Trade and Investment —  HKUST IEMS – EY Hong Kong Emerging Market Insights Series

[Online Discussion Panel]  CHINA IN AFRICA: China’s Impact on African Employment — World Bank Jobs Group Google Hangout

[Academic Seminar]  Localization of Chinese Enterprises in Africa presented by Barry Sautman

[Academic Seminar] The Potential of the RMB to be a Major Invoicing Currency in the Asia-Pacific Region presented by Edwin Lai

Event Video and Interviews

Collaborating Partners

[External] EY – Navigating the Belt and Road on


Media Coverage

Channel News Asia: China’s Belt and Road featuring Albert Park in a panel of experts on the topic

CEPA and the Belt and Road quoted Edwin Lai

Financial Times: Chinese return from Africa as migrant population peaks quoted David Zweig

Hong Kong Economic Journal: China Cannot Finance the Belt and Road Alone featuring Alicia Garcia-Herrero

China’s Belt and Road Initiative: Can Europe Expect Trade Gains?

One belt, one road initiative creates fresh opportunities for Asians investing in Africa on South China Morning Post quoted Alicia Garica-Herrero

Future-Proofing the Belt and Road, an op-ed on China Daily by  Stuart Gietel-Basten,

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