Five years ago the Silk Road Economic Belt initiative was launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping. This was later expanded to something much bigger: One Belt, One Road — an ambitious infrastructure and economic development initiative intended to stimulate economic integration in Europe and Asia. Under the latter initiative, physical road and sea routes will course their way through Southeast Asia, Africa and the Middle East, and end in Venice, Italy. One Belt, One Road covers about 65% of the world’s population, one-third of the world’s GDP and a quarter of the world’s goods and services trade. Critics of the initiative argue that the project is driven by China’s need to export excess domestic capacity and find external opportunities for surplus domestic savings. Therefore, it may fail to address pressing infrastructure needs or deliver expected returns to partner countries. Indeed, some analysts have even argued that the infrastructure needs of China’s partners are secondary to it...

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