Friday, 26 April 2019

Belt and Road Initiative

The Belt and Road Initiative is a development strategy adopted by the Chinese government involving infrastructure development and investments in 152 countries and international organizations in Europe, Asia, Middle East, Latin America and Africa. "Belt" refers to the overland routes for road and rail transportation, called "the Silk Road Economic Belt" whereas "road" refers to the sea routes, or the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

The Belt and Road Initiative is believed by some analysts to be a way to extend Chinese influence at the expense of the US, in order to fight for regional leadership in Asia. China has already invested billions of dollars in several South Asian countries like Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan to improve their basic infrastructure, with implications for China's trade regime as well as its military influence. China has emerged as one of the fastest-growing sources of Foreign Direct Investment into India it is like a war without the guns.

Is this something we should be worried about or is it an amazing piece of power creep from the East?

There are potential environmental, social, and corruption risks associated with any large infrastructure project. These could include, biodiversity loss, environmental degradation, or elite capture. These risks may be especially significant in countries involved in the belt & road initiative, which tend to have relatively weak governance.

Delays crossing borders, cumbersome customs procedures, and restrictions on foreign direct investment, tend to be more significant in belt & road initiative countries compared to other regions.

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