China’s Belt and Road Faces Pandemic Economy


Analysis China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is at the center of Xi Jinping’s foreign and economic policy, and a significant component of Beijing’s push for global expansion. So far, 139 countries have joined the various components, including the Digital Silk Road, Health Silk Road, and Maritime Silk Road. The BRI (also known as “One Belt, One Road”) consists of a series of linked infrastructure programs, including physical roads and ports, as well as telecommunication and banking. The basic model is that Chinese state-owned banks loan money to developing countries that use the funds to pay Chinese companies to build their infrastructure. BRI membership comes with a vague promise that BRI projects will increase a country’s GDP by more than the amount needed to repay its debt. But so far, the vast majority of BRI projects have failed to make other countries rich. In fact, BRI debt is weighing down the …

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