China’s BRI: Development or Debt?

The Real Story

13-10-2023 • 48 mins

It has been a decade since Chinese President Xi Jinping's launched the Belt and Road Initiative, an ambitious plan to connect Asia with Africa and Europe through a series of land and sea networks via investments in local infrastructure. But ten years on has it been - as some claim - a debt trap for some developing economies, a road to nowhere? Or has the sweeping infrastructure project - which has funded trains, roads and ports in many countries - successfully expanded global trade links and helped the economic development of countries in Africa and Asia?

Shaun Ley is joined by Eyck Freymann, economic historian and China specialist, currently a Hoover Fellow at Stanford University; Niva Yau, political scientist from Hong Kong and a non-resident fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Global China Hub; Kerry Brown, professor of Chinese Studies and director of the Lau China Institute at King's College, London.

Also featuring: Pakistan Senator Afnan Khan, Pakistan Muslim League, Victor Gao of the Beijing based Centre for China and Globalisation, a think tank with links to the governing Chinese Communist Party and Nicola Procaccini, Member of the European Parliament from the Fratelli d'Italia party

(Photo: Chinese President Xi Jinping waves to children upon arrival at Islamabad airport in Islamabad, 20 April, 2015. Credit: Pakistan Presidency Press Information Department /Getty Images)

Producer: Rumella Dasgupta and Ellen Otzen