The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI, or B&R), formerly known as One Belt One Road (Chinese: 一带一路) or OBOR for short, is a global infrastructure development strategy adopted by the Chinese government in 2013 to invest in nearly 70 countries and international organizations. It is considered a centerpiece of the Chinese leader Xi Jinping's foreign policy. The BRI forms a central component of Xi's "Major Country Diplomacy" (Chinese: 大国外交) strategy, which calls for China to assume a greater leadership role for global affairs in accordance with its rising power and status.
Xi originally announced the strategy as the "Silk Road Economic Belt" during an official visit to Kazakhstan in September 2013. "Belt" is short for the "Silk Road Economic Belt," referring to the proposed overland routes for road and rail transportation through landlocked Central Asia along the famed historical trade routes of the Western Regions; whereas "road" is short for the "21st Century Maritime Silk Road", referring to the Indo-Pacific sea routes through Southeast Asia to South Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Examples of Belt and Road Initiative infrastructure investments include ports, skyscrapers, railroads, roads, bridges, airports, dams, coal-fired power stations, and railroad tunnels.
The initiative was incorporated into the Constitution of China in 2017. The Chinese government calls the initiative "a bid to enhance regional connectivity and embrace a brighter future." The project has a target completion date of 2049, which will coincide with the centennial of the People's Republic of China (PRC)'s founding. A 2019 study conducted by global economic consultants forecasted that the BRI was likely to boost world GDP by $7.1 trillion per annum by 2040.
The official name for the initiative is the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road Development Strategy (丝绸之路经济带和21世纪海上丝绸之路发展战略), which was initially abbreviated as the One Belt One Road (Chinese: 一带一路) or the OBOR strategy. The English translation has been changed to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) since 2016, when the Chinese government considered the emphasis on the words "one" and "strategy" were prone to misinterpretation so they opted for the more inclusive term "initiative" in its translation. However, "One Belt One Road" is still the reference term in Chinese-language media.