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Competition of the Century: China’s Belt and Road Initiative vs. the G-7’s Global Partnership for Infrastructure and Investment

The W&M Washington Center is please to welcome Professor Ammar Malik to Hybrid DC Summer Sessions!

  • 3 credits

Over the last two decades, China has provided record amounts of international development finance through the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and established itself as a financier of first resort for many low-income and middle-income countries. At $85 billion per year, China now outspends the U.S. by a more than 2-to-1 basis and the U.K. by a more than 7-to-1 basis.

 But China’s international lending and grant-making activities remain shrouded in secrecy, making it difficult for policymakers in Western capital to undertake evidence-based decisions toward a coherent policy response. While participation in the BRI has addressed infrastructure deficits and stimulated short-term economic growth, record numbers of recipients are now facing debt distress. Beijing is also dealing with implementation challenges in the form of corruption scandals, environmental degradation, and labor violations. In addition, the US and its allies have launched “values-driven” and “climate-friendly” alternatives to the BRI—particularly, the $600 billion Global Partnership for Infrastructure and Investment.

 In this context, this course explores the evolution of China’s geo-economics strategy; competition and coordination between Chinese, OECD-DAC, and multilateral sources of development finance; buyer’s remorse among BRI participant countries and the social, economic, and environmental implications of Chinese development finance. It will help students develop a vivid understanding of the form and function of China’s overseas engagements, implications for recipient countries, and potential policy response options available to the U.S. and its allies. 

Equipped with AidData’s Global Chinese Development Finance Dataset Version 2.0, students will identify entry points for competitors vying for global influence, analyze challenges associated with their effectiveness on the ground, and recommend appropriate sets of policy actions.