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America is slowly awakening to the growing menace of China’s plans for economic supremacy.
In 2013 Chinese President Xi Jingping launched an international investment program that became known as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Under a new mantra to connect the global economy, China began investing heavily in foreign infrastructure projects in over 60 countries that account for 60 percent of the world population and 30 percent of global gross domestic product.
From 2013 to 2018 China made an estimated nearly $614 billion worth of investments in countries participating in BRI. Morgan Stanley predicts China’s overall expense from BRI could reach $1.3 trillion over the next decade.
President Xi considers BRI an opportunity to share China’s model for economic growth with the developing world. Geopolitical rivals are concerned BRI investment programs will deepen China’s political influence and military expansion.
Is BRI a lifeline for the developing world, or economic imperialism?
In Africa, it is clear that China’s campaign of foreign investment is a new form of colonialism. The continent, where I live and work, is ground zero.
When BRI launched in 2013, it prioritized regional development projects in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Eastern Europe. Italy became the first major industrialized nation in the Group of Seven to join BRI, despite opposition from the U.S. and the European Union.
U.S. officials are right to be concerned about the expansion of an infrastructure network that leaves crippling debt, faulty construction and project mismanagement in its wake.
The Center for Global Development published a study of 23 countries participating in BRI and found 10 to 15 are in danger of debt distress. Other high-profile cases in Sri Lanka and Pakistan are examples where BRI projects left the local governments in severe … Read More...