Accepted paper:

Belt and Road Initiative: opportunities and challenges

Authors:

Rashmi Arora (University of Bradford)
Hossein Jalilian (University of Bradford)
Karen Jackson (University of Westminster)

Paper short abstract:

In 2013, China's President Xi Jinping announced infrastructure development project, referred as the Belt and Road Initiative. In this study we examine effects of BRI on social welfare, environment, trade and investment in the participating countries.

Paper long abstract:

In 2013, Xi Jinping, China's President announced the very ambitious infrastructure development project, referred to as the 'Belt and Road Initiative' (BRI) (also translated as 'One Belt One Road', OBOR). This consists of two strands: The Silk Road Economic Belt - 'Belt'; The 21st Century Maritime Silk Road - 'Road' (BRI hereafter). BRI, a development initiative aims at fostering "orderly and free flow of economic factors, highly efficient allocation of resources and deep integration of markets by enhancing connectivity of Asian, European and African continents and their adjacent seas" (State Council of the PRC, 2015). Within this initiative, China provides loans to partner country and builds infrastructure (rail, road and ports) which in turn will contribute to increased trade and economic growth. Pathway to sustainable infrastructure development arising from BRI is however, likely to be complex and multi-dimensional. While economic activities are expected to increase leading to growth, employment generation and general welfare including health improvements however, at the same time BRI is likely to lead to a large number of political social, institutional and environmental conflict prone issues. This study aims to examine overall impact of BRI on social welfare and the environment; effects of BRI on costs of trade, policy decisions regarding trade and investment regulations and levels of investment, especially keeping in view implications of these effects for countries faced with risk of conflict and also pro-poor development.

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The political economy of development under the Chinese Belt Road Initiative (BRI) [paper]