In 2013, China initiated the China Belt and Road Initiative (CBRI) to connect Asia, Europe, and Africa through a series of land and sea routes which would ensure greater connectivity and promote commerce between China and the rest of the world.China has aggressively promoted this endeavor that seeks to reestablish a series of trade routes similar to that of the ancient Silk Road.
The CBRI, the modern Silk Road, is segmented into 6 overland belts and 3 maritime roads. As of March 2020, at least 138 countries have signed the CBRI Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with China.State-owned banks, sovereign wealth funds, bilateral funds, and multilateral financial institutions finance the projects of the CBRI. The CBRI has attracted $100 million in investments every year from 2014 to 2019 and was valued at $762.57 billion at the end of 2020. East Asia has attracted the most investments so far, drawing almost $200 billion, accounting for 26.1% of all investments. It is followed by West Asia with 21.2% and SubSaharan Africa with 20.2% of all investments. As for the contribution of industries or sectors, energy has attracted the maximum investment at $296.70 billion in 2020. It is followed by transportation -related investments with more than $187 billion, real estate at $74.09 billion, and metals at $58.23 billion.CBRI-related infrastructure projects will create opportunities for a whole host of companies engaged in construction, real estate, town planning, architecture, off-highway vehicle manufacturing, rail construction, rolling stock manufacturing, port development and ship building, telecommunications, data analytics, and IT. The CBRI will become a test bed of futuristic transportation modes, including hyperloop, delivery drones, mega ships, and mega trucks. It will also be a cradle for innovative tech companies which are into Internet of Things (IOT), renewable energy, cloud computing, and Artificial Intelligence. The CBRI is expected to promote greater commerce between China and the participating countries through investments and infrastructure development. The value of trade between China and the other CBRI countries is expected to reach $2.96 trillion by 2030. The CBRI has the potential to create economic growth in participating countries and create jobs, leading to social and economic upliftment of citizens. More than 7,000 projects have been planned as part of the Belt and Road initiative until 2050.Analyst: Joe Praveen Vijayakumar
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