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Economy

China's Belt and Road initiative vital to Asian job creation

Project will increase prospects for political and economic stability in the region

The Belt and Road Initiative, announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, involves building infrastructure along the historic Silk Road routes connecting China to 64 other countries in Southeast, South and Central Asia and the Middle East. The initiative has been welcomed as a stimulus to global growth, while helping countries to overcome poor physical and social infrastructure.

Less discussed -- but equally important -- is its potential to address the urgent need to create hundreds of millions of jobs across the region to absorb a dramatic surge in the working population, especially among young adults. Otherwise, a growing jobs gap could lead to political fragility, the rise of more extremist movements and refugee crises driven by economic insecurity and conflicts that would dwarf what the world, especially Europe, has faced recently.

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