To effectively leverage the infrastructure financing opportunities provided by the Belt & Road Initiative, countries must examine their own development strategies and build domestic skills and institutions, argues Ganeshan Wignaraja for the Nikkei Asian Review.
China's Belt and Road Initiative is transforming Nepal's domestic infrastructure through new roads, hydropower projects, and other industrial projects. Nepal has accommodated Chinese political interests to keep Chinese investments and exports coming, reports Nikkei.
While on a state visit to the Philippines, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad told journalists that if countries borrow money from China they cannot pay back, the country "may be under the control of the lender." The statement was read as a warning to Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte, who accepted a $9 billion credit line from China in 2016, reports Nikkei.
China convenes its top political advisory bodies, the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and the National People's Congress this, this week. Analysts expect the meetings will address rising political backlash against China's Belt and Road initiative, reports Nikkei.
Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi, the de facto leader, convened a forum for foreign businesses in the impoverished Rakhine State, urging attendees to invest in infrastructure throughout the country's rural areas. With national elections in 2020, Suu Kyi has been touring outlying regions in Myanmar promising development initiatives to shore up support for her ruling party, reports Nikkei.
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, promised to invest up to $100 billion in India's economy in the coming years, including in areas such as infrastructure, energy, and refining. The Crown Prince's visit to New Delhi follows a stop in neighboring Pakistan, where he signed $20 billion worth of investments in the country's flagging economy. The Crown Prince's next stop? Beijing.
China's $2.5 billion offer to bailout Pakistan as its foreign exchange reserves dry up disappointed Islamabad, which reportedly sought $6 billion from Beijing. Pakistan's balance of payments crisis could threaten the $62 billion Beijing has invested in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, reports Nikkei.
David Malpass, U.S. President Donald Trump's nominee to lead the World Bank, told media sources on Wednesday that he hopes to cut the multilateral lender's loans to China, which he believes is too wealthy to receive large loans from the World Bank. Malpass also criticized China's Belt and Road infrastructure initiative, saying that the BRI "leaves countries with heavy burdens of debt," reports Nikkei.
The trial of Najib Razak, Malaysia's former prime minister, over corruption-related charges tied to the 1MDB development fund is scheduled to begin on February 12. The prosecution is expected to probe whether China-backed infrastructure projects signed by Najib's government were used to bail out 1MDB, reports Nikkei.
It is clear that China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) carries important implications not only for the world’s water resources, but also for politics in BRI countries. One of the worst outcomes would be for it to exacerbate the growing number of local conflicts over shared, and often shrinking, water resources.
In the Maldives, government officials are examining official documents to determine the amount owed to China after reports emerged that the debt could be as high as $3.2 billion, a substantial increase over $1.3 billion in officially recorded Chinese loans.
Saudi Arabia plans to build Pakistan's largest oil refinery near Gwadar port, the flagship project of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The oil refinery, part of Saudi Arabia's new commitment to invest $15 billion in Pakistan over the next three years, could fuel competition with Beijing for economic leverage given China's significant investment there under CPEC, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
With an eye toward illuminating current issues, this report draws from examples throughout history of how states use foreign infrastructure to advance strategic objectives. It shows how China is updating and exercising tactics used by Western powers during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and how these issues, and the strategic implications they carry, are likely to intensify in the coming years.
In his first international trip of the year, Australian prime minister Scott Morrison visited Vanuatu to pledge high-quality infrastructure investments and economic development just weeks after China signed a deal to forgive $2.87 million of the country's debt and provide fresh financing for road upgrades.
The power generating arm of Thailand's oldest industrial group, B. Grimm, has issued 5 billion baht ($152 million) in "green bonds" to raise funds for further investment in its renewable energy business, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
On his trip to Asia, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence will play up Washington's efforts to boost infrastructure investment in the region at a time when China is doing the same with its Belt and Road Initiative, according to the Nikkei Asian Review.
The Thai government has approved four infrastructure megaprojects, worth a combined $14 billion, in an effort to rev up new investment in the country's Eastern Economic Corridor.
When it was launched, China heralded its Belt and Road Initiative as a “golden opportunity” to revitalize the region, but today it has raised serious concerns about debt sustainability, drawing scrutiny from the IMF. One way for Beijing to demonstrate its commitment to addressing the IMF's concerns is by partnering to develop more sustainable and transparent lending practices.
Japan drafted a plan to offer greater assistance for infrastructure development overseas ahead of a key summit with China next week, as it prepares to pursue joint projects with Beijing in third countries, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
Pakistan has formally asked the International Monetary Fund for financial assistance amid pressure to meet external debt obligations, reports the Nikkei Asian Review. IMF help will require absolute transparency on the nature, size, and terms of the country's debt, including its BRI investment from China.
Chinese capital flowing into the Belt and Road Initiative projects surged to a record $20.1 billion in 2017, even as the country's overall outbound foreign direct investment fell. That record will likely be beaten again this year, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
With the approval of Congress, the U.S. moves forward with a $60 billion investment fund to boost foreign development funding. According to the Nikkei Asian Review, this is an effort to counter China's expanding influence under the BRI.
India's largest infrastructure financing company, Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services, was recently taken over by a government-backed board to address a series of loan defaults that raises questions over the country's infrastructure development.
China and Japan announced plans to sign dozens of agreements on infrastructure and other projects when Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe visits China next month.
On September 19, The European Commission released a joint communication titled "Connecting Europe and Asia – Building blocks for an EU Strategy," outlining EU priorities for implementing sustainable, comprehensive, and rules-based connectivity to link its transport, energy, and digital networks with Asia.
The European Commission has announced "The European Way to Connectivity," a proposal aimed at boosting Europe's infrastructure links with Asia.
In preparations to double airport capacity, Thailand plans to build a 220-km high-speed railway connecting three major airports by 2023.
Chinese infrastructure funding is as likely to go outside of Beijing's six defined economic corridors as it is to go in them; indicating a possible lapse of control from the central government. This could present opportunities for its partners and competitors, writes Jonathan Hillman in the Nikkei Asian Review.
Beijing has pledged another $60 billion to African countries as it tries to address the perception of the Belt and Road being a debt trap, according to the Nikkei Asian Review.
Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo has leveraged infrastructure to promote pro-growth economic policies. However, Widodo may need to make trade-offs between growth and economic stability amid an uncertain economic outlook as the April 2019 elections approach, writes the Nikkei Asian Review.
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir claims that Chinese leaders have accepted his government's request to stop three China-backed infrastructure projects due to debt concerns.
The plummeting Turkish Lira may serve as a warning for emerging Asian economies who own significant BRI infrastructure debt. A drop in domestic currency can cause a crisis when time to repay debts, which are typically denominated in USD, according to the Nikkei Asian Review.
Indonesian president Joko Widodo unveiled his draft state budget for 2019 as he prepares for re-election, which presents the slowest infrastructure budget increase since he took office in 2014.
Pakistan's new prime minister Imran Khan is deciding whether the country should turn to the International Monetary Fund or to China for financial support. The new administration must resolve its shortage of foreign exchange reserves caused by a sharp increase in imports through BRI-related projects and the redemption of external debt.
In anticipation of an infrastructure spending boost, stocks have climbed for Chinese infrastructure companies.
China and Japan agreed Thursday to encourage deeper economic cooperation in the private sector and to launch a public-private committee to advance joint infrastructure development in the region as part of Beijing's Belt and Road Initiative.
Asia and the Pacific have made great strides in deveopment over the past 50 years, however much remains to be done. Issues such as poverty and vulnerability, rising inequality, climate change, growing environmental pressures, and large infrastructure deficits remain to be addressed while merging trends, such as technological advancements, urbanization, and changing demographics, present opportunities and challenges
Rather than being roundly welcomed, China's Belt and Road investment and finance decisions have become cause for concern for some receiving states, according to the Nikkei Asian Review..
Due to highly anticipated infrastructure development and manufacturing potential in North Korea, South Korean banks are rushing to hire experts on North Korea.
Mahathir's new government intended to cut the cost of the Light Rail Transit 3 project by 47%, from 31.65 billion ringgit to 16.63 billion ringgit ($4.11 billion). This also sends a worrying message to stakeholders of other costly infrastructure projects signed by Najib's government, which was blamed for "poor governance."
Thirty-one companies from Thailand and abroad have expressed interest in bidding for the right to build the country's first high-speed railway, valued at $7.07 billion. The 220km route will link three major airports and will be the first large infrastructure project to be built in the Eastern Economic Corridor.
According to an expert with the German Marshall Fund, a prolonged U.S.- China trade war will make it difficult for China to afford expensive foreign policy ventures, such as its Belt and Road Initiative.
Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad is expected to lead a government delegation to Beijing, as Malaysia figures out how to service loans taken from China to finance costly infrastructure projects.
Although operating on a smaller scale than the Asian Development Bank, the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is steadily increasing its presence as a multilateral institution focused on infrastructure development financing. The AIIB set a lending and investment target of $3.5 billion for 2018, 40 percent more than last year.
The World Bank Monday urged Malaysia's new government to step up fiscal reforms amid robust economic growth to make the country more resilient to potential future shocks.The government should also restructure large-scale infrastructure projects and improve spending efficiency, it said.
AIIB president Jin Liqun announced his intent to create financial stability for the bank's 87 member countries and establish the AIIB as a multilateral development bank commensurate with the World Bank Group, Asian Development Bank, and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
This report highlights recommendations on how the U.S. might effectively engage Southeast Asia's infrastructure challenges to foster greater stability and financial integration in the region.
China's Belt and Road Initiative has begun attracting international investors and financial institutions through the issuance of BRI-branded corporate bonds and other BRI-related products.
The Shanghai and Shenzhen exchanges bought 450 million shares of Bangladesh's main exchange, beating India's bid. The exchanges allow Chinese investors to access funds for overseas infrastructure projects and strengthen financial cooperation for the BRI, a goal stated by both exchanges.
The head of the Asian Development Bank has warned countries against unsustainable borrowing to fund infrastructure projects, which could lead to debt traps and repayment trouble.