Betting on China’s Belt and Road
China’s Belt and Road Initiative has transformed the face of Asia, but what might its legacy be?
China’s trillion dollar infrastructure plan has fuelled its rise to a global superpower, bringing Beijing into closer quarters with nearly every corner of the world.
The Belt and Road Initiative has dominated China’s economic and diplomatic relationships since its launch in 2013.
Indonesia, which has collaborated with China on a mass transit and railway, is benefitting from Chinese investment. One of Indonesia’s three largest foreign investors, China’s money is helping Indonesia re-develop its mass transit network.
But critics of China’s Belt and Road projects see it as something sinister masquerading as a helping hand — a play to acquire political influence and a way to trap developing economies in debt.
Some experts have linked Sri Lanka’s economic hardship to China’s involvement in infrastructure projects, while the Belt and Road “jewel”, the USD$60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, has been beset by financial and security challenges.
A reckoning on the Belt and Road Initiative is coming. Costs are blowing out, pandemic-related disruptions are still being felt and China’s domestic economy is fast becoming more uncertain.
If the financial issues facing Chinese property kingpin the Evergrande Group aren’t resolved, infrastructural projects at home and abroad could be massively affected.
In this special report, experts examine the legacy of China’s Belt and Road Initiative and look ahead to what its future holds.