The scale of the Belt and Road initiative could have profound economic implications. In the beginning, developing countries will welcome the infrastructure investment while China will extend its soft power. But around 10-20 years later, we expect the negative impacts on growth and debt to become apparent
China’s Belt and Road Initiative is set to transform a large part of the world. First proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, this long-term project is among the most ambitious ever conceived. It involves 65 countries (representing 60% of the world’s population and 30% of global GDP), including not just China’s nearest neighbours but also countries in South Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Central and Eastern Europe.
BRI land corridors are known as the 'belt' and include the development of overland roads, bridges, tunnels, rail routes, oil and natural gas pipelines, and other infrastructure projects. Belt corridors will connect China with Europe via Central Asia and Russia; the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean Sea via Central and Western Asia; and Southeast Asia, South Asia and the Indian Ocean. Sea-based corridors are described as part of the 'road' and include the development of ports. The road extends from China’s coastal ports to the South China Sea, Indian Ocean, Africa and Europe and to the South Pacific Ocean.
As the trade war between Washington and Beijing rolls on, can a global infrastructure network targeting 64 countries for transportation, energy and trade become the modern Silk Road? Or is China’s Belt and Road initiative just a geopolitical gambit to boost Beijing’s regional clout