Belt and Road Initiative
In late 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced the “Silk Road Economic Belt” and the “21. The “Century Maritime Silk Road” is a major transport and trade corridor project that envisages the use and development of strategic straits, passages, ports and oceans, especially land corridors extending from Asia to Europe and Africa.
These massive projects, also called the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), are designed to improve regional integration, boost trade and stimulate economic growth. The BRI is a very broad investment program aimed at developing infrastructure for power plants, communication and transport networks, as well as ports, roads, railways and airports.
Building a large integrated market, taking full advantage of both international and local markets through cultural exchange and integration, increasing the mutual understanding and trust of member countries, ensuring an innovative capital inflow are some of the objectives.
It is estimated that Asia will continuously increase its current infrastructure spending over the next decade, mostly through borrowing, and will need infrastructure investment of $900 billion a year. That is why China aims to offer a great source of finance and investment to close this gap.
As of February 2023, 147 countries, which account for two-thirds of the world’s population and 40 percent of the global GDP, have signed on to the project or indicated interest in it.
|Table 1: BRI Participating Countries|
|Albania||Europe & Central Asia||Upper of the Middle|
|Angola||Sub-Saharan Africa||Below Middle|
|Antigua ve Barbuda||Latin America & Caribbean||High|
|Argentina||Latin America & Caribbean||Above Middle|
|Armenia||Europe & Central Asia||Above Middle|
|Austria*||Europe & Central Asia||High|
|Azerbaijan||Europe & Central Asia||Above Middle|
|Bahrain||Middle East & North Africa||High|
|Bangladesh||South Asia||Below Middle|
|Barbados||Latin America & Caribbean||High|
|Belarus||Europe & Central Asia||Above Middle|
|United Arab Emirates||Middle East & North Africa||High|
|Bolivia||Latin America & Caribbean||Below Middle|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||Europe & Central Asia||Above Middle|
|Botswana||Sub-Saharan Africa||Above Middle|
|Brunei||East Asia & Pacific||High|
|Bulgaria||Europe & Central Asia||Above Middle|
|Algeria||Middle East & North Africa||Above Middle|
|Cook Islands||East Asia & Pacific||Above Middle|
|Djibouti||Middle East & North Africa||Below Middle|
|Czechia||Europe & Central Asia||High|
|China||East Asia & Pacific||Above Middle|
|East Timor||East Asia & Pacific||Below Middle|
|Dominica||Latin America & Caribbean||Miscarriage|
|Dominican Republic||Latin America & Caribbean||Above Middle|
|Ecuador||Latin America & Caribbean||Above Middle|
|El Salvador||Latin America & Caribbean||Below Middle|
|Equatorial Guinea||Sub-Saharan Africa||Above Middle|
|Indonesia||East Asia & Pacific||Below Middle|
|Estonia||Europe & Central Asia||High|
|Morocco||Middle East & North Africa||Below Middle|
|Fiji||East Asia & Pacific||Above Middle|
|Ivory Coast||Sub-Saharan Africa||Below Middle|
|Philippines||East Asia & Pacific||Below Middle|
|Gabon||Sub-Saharan Africa||Above Middle|
|Georgia||Europe & Central Asia||Below Middle|
|Desire||Sub-Saharan Africa||Below Middle|
|Grenada||Latin America & Caribbean||Above Middle|
|Guyana||Latin America & Caribbean||Above Middle|
|South Africa||Sub-Saharan Africa||Above Middle|
|South Sudan||Sub-Saharan Africa||Miscarriage|
|Greek Cypriot Administration of Southern Cyprus||Europe & Central Asia||High|
|South Korea||East Asia & Pacific||High|
|Croatia||Europe & Central Asia||High|
|Iraq||Middle East & North Africa||Above Middle|
|Islamic Republic of Iran||Middle East & North Africa||Above Middle|
|Italy||Europe & Central Asia||High|
|Jamaica||Latin America & Caribbean||Above Middle|
|Kazakhstan||Europe & Central Asia||Above Middle|
|Kenya||Sub-Saharan Africa||Below Middle|
|Kiribati||East Asia & Pacific||Below Middle|
|Montenegro||Europe & Central Asia||Above Middle|
|Cabo Verde||Sub-Saharan Africa||Below Middle|
|Cambodia||East Asia & Pacific||Below Middle|
|Cameroon||Sub-Saharan Africa||Below Middle|
|Qatar||Middle East & North Africa||High|
|Democratic Republic of the Congo||Sub-Saharan Africa||Miscarriage|
|Republic of the Congo*||Sub-Saharan Africa||Below Middle|
|Cost rich||Latin America & Caribbean||Above Middle|
|Kuwait||Middle East & North Africa||High|
|North Macedonia||Europe & Central Asia||Above Middle|
|Cuba||Latin America & Caribbean||Above Middle|
|Republic of Kyrgyzstan||Europe & Central Asia||Below Middle|
|Laos||East Asia & Pacific||Below Middle|
|Latvia||Europe & Central Asia||High|
|Lebanon||Middle East & North Africa||Above Middle|
|Lesotho||Sub-Saharan Africa||Below Middle|
|Libya||Middle East & North Africa||Above Middle|
|Lithuania||Europe & Central Asia||High|
|Luxembourg||Europe & Central Asia||High|
|Hungary||Europe & Central Asia||High|
|Malaysia||East Asia & Pacific||Above Middle|
|Maldives||South Asia||Above Middle|
|Malta||Middle East & North Africa||High|
|Mauritania||Sub-Saharan Africa||Below Middle|
|Arab Republic of Egypt||Middle East & North Africa||Below Middle|
|Micronesia||East Asia & Pacific||Below Middle|
|Moldova||Europe & Central Asia||Below Middle|
|Mongolia||East Asia & Pacific||Below Middle|
|Myanmar||East Asia & Pacific||Below Middle|
|Namibia||Sub-Saharan Africa||Above Middle|
|Nicaragua||Latin America & Caribbean||Below Middle|
|Nigeria||Sub-Saharan Africa||Below Middle|
|Niue||East Asia & Pacific||Below Middle|
|Uzbekistan||Europe & Central Asia||Below Middle|
|Pakistan||South Asia||Below Middle|
|Panama||Latin America & Caribbean||High|
|Papua New Guinea||East Asia & Pacific||Below Middle|
|Peru||Latin America & Caribbean||Above Middle|
|Poland||Europe & Central Asia||High|
|Portugal||Europe & Central Asia||High|
|Romania*||Europe & Central Asia||Above Middle|
|Russia*||Europe & Central Asia||Above Middle|
|Samoa||East Asia & Pacific||Above Middle|
|Saudi Arabia||Middle East & North Africa||High|
|Serbia||Europe & Central Asia||Above Middle|
|Sierra Leone||Sub-Saharan Africa||Miscarriage|
|Singapore||East Asia & Pacific||High|
|Slovakia||Europe & Central Asia||High|
|Slovenia||Europe & Central Asia||High|
|Solomon Islands||East Asia & Pacific||Below Middle|
|Sri Lanka||South Asia||Below Middle|
|Sudan||Sub-Saharan Africa||Below Middle|
|Suriname||Latin America & Caribbean||Above Middle|
|Syrian Arab Republic||Middle East & North Africa||Miscarriage|
|Chile||Latin America & Caribbean||High|
|Tajikistan||Europe & Central Asia||Miscarriage|
|Thailand||East Asia & Pacific||Above Middle|
|Tonga||East Asia & Pacific||Above Middle|
|Trinidad ve Tobago||Latin America & Caribbean||High|
|Tunisia||Middle East & North Africa||Below Middle|
|Türkiye||Europe & Central Asia||Above Middle|
|Turkmenistan||Europe & Central Asia||Above Middle|
|Ukraine||Europe & Central Asia||Below Middle|
|Oman||Middle East & North Africa||High|
|Uruguay||Latin America & Caribbean||High|
|Vanuatu||East Asia & Pacific||Below Middle|
|Venezuela||Latin America & Caribbean||Above Middle|
|Vietnam||East Asia & Pacific||Below Middle|
|Yemen||Middle East & North Africa||Miscarriage|
|New Zealand||East Asia & Pacific||High|
|Greece||Europe & Central Asia||High|
|Zambia||Sub-Saharan Africa||Below Middle|
|*: States that do not have an official signatory, but intend to join.|
States in the Process of Inclusion
|Table 2: States in the Process of Inclusion|
|Austria*||Europe & Central Asia||High|
|Kongo Republic*||Sub-Saharan Africa||Below Middle|
|Novelor*||Europe & Central Asia||Above Middle|
|Russia*||Europe & Central Asia||Above Middle|
|*: States that do not have an official signatory, but intend to join.|
Belt and Road Initiative Investment Projects
China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor (CMREC)
On September 11, 2014, China proposed a tripartite regional initiative to connect Mongolia’s Development Road Initiative (Steppe Road) and Russia’s Trans-Eurasian Railway Network. Through this corridor, Chinese-made products as well as Russian oil and gas, Mongolia’s natural resources such as coal, iron, silver, crude oil and gold are shipped.
The economic corridor in question starts from the Chinese cities of Tientsin and Dalian, reaching from the town of Erenhot in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region to the Gobi coal and copper deposits in Mongolia and the Choybalsan uranium and zinc deposit, and the Suifen River Moving along the way, it reaches the gold and iron ore deposits in the Far East region of Russia, the West Siberian oil field, and then the Baltic Sea. This corridor is three times shorter than the corridor that runs from the east of China to Western Europe by sea. during the test flights in 2015, cargo from China’s Manzhouli station to Moscow, Russia was delivered in about 12-14 days.
New Eurasian Land Bridge (NELB)
Themain backbone of the new Eurasian Land Bridge economic corridor is the 10800 km long railway. Originating in China’s Jiangsu and Shandong regions, the railway runs along the coasts of Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus. One branch of the line leads south to reach the oil and gas resources around the Caspian Sea, uranium and iron ore deposits. This route is mainly used to transport products from China to Europe via freight train. This line is completed ina shorter time compared to maritime transport. Cargo arrived by sea in 37 days and is delivered over this line in 16 days.
China-Central Asia-West Asia Economic Belt (CCWAEC)
The purpose of this corridor is; It is to connect the rail systems between China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Iran and Türkiye. In other words, it connects China (via Urum and Xinjiang) to Kazakhstan and from there to the Mediterranean through Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran and Türkiye.
Route: Urumqi (China), Almaty (Kazakhstan), Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan), Tashkent and Samarkand (Uzbekistan), Dushanbe (Tacikistan), Ashgabat (Turkmenistan), Tehran (Iran), Ankara and Istanbul (Türkiye).
When this corridor is fully operational, the shipment of goods from eastern China to Iran by rail will take half the time compared to shipping by sea from the Shanghai Faith. Other countries to which this corridor contributes are: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, Georgia and Russia.
China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a 3,000 km regional infrastructure network project undertaken by Beijing. Its main objective is to secure China’s energy and other trade with Middle Eastern countries and reducerisks by avoiding the Malacca Strait route. In this context, it is planned to build a deep-sea port in GvAdar and a road and railway line extending from this port to China’s western Xinjiang Province. Pakistan’s gains are to meet its energy needs, improve infrastructure and modernize transport networks. In this way, Pakistan will move from an economic structure based on agriculture to an economic structure based on industry.
This project will not only benefit China and Pakistan, but also have a positive impact on Iran, Afghanistan, the Republic of Central Asia and the region. Stable growth, improved road, rail and air transport system, higher volume trade and investment opportunities are some of these gains.
Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor (BCIMEC)
The Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor (BCHMEK) project basically starts from Kunming, China, follows Myanmar and Bangladesh, reaching the Indian port city of Kolkata. From the said port, it is connected to the Port of Colombo in Sri Lanka. Thus, the land corridor established by China through Myanmar-Bangladesh-India connects to the Maritime Silk Road passing through Sri Lanka. Due to some of the challenges posed by regional geopolitics, the project has largely failed. The ongoing disagreements between India and China due to the Kashmir Problem and geopolitical-strategic competition, Myanmar and Bangladesh due to the Rohingya Problem, and China and Myanmar due to the Kokang Problem adversely affect the project. In addition, the political and social crises in Sri Lanka have made it difficult to implement this corridor.
The first of the objectives in this corridor is to developtransport corridors and infrastructure in the region, the second to develop energy resources, the third to develop agriculture and the fourth to develop trade and ultimately to ensure socio-economic development in the region. Although a budget of 22 billion dollars was initially foreseen for the implementation of the project, it is planned that 55 percent of this financing will be obtained from the participation partners of the Belt and Road Initiative banks.
China-Indo-China Peninsula Economic Corridor (CIPEC)
countries in the China-Indochina Peninsula Economic Corridor; Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. Although the beginning of the Belt and Road Initiative dates back to 2013-2014, it took 2 to 3 years for the “China-Indochina Peninsula Economic Corridor” to become official. With a joint declaration signed by the PanBeibu Bay Economic Cooperation Forum and the “China-Indochina Peninsula Economic Corridor Development Forum”, the “China-Indochina Peninsula Economic Corridor Initiative” was launched.
The line in question, which aims to connect China to the Indochina Peninsula; It is divided into three branches: eastern, central and western corridors. The eastern corridor runs from Kunming, the administrative center of China’s Yunnan province, to Vietnam’s capital Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, following the coastline, and from there to Punom Pen, the capital of Cambodia, and finally to Bangkok, the capital of Thailand. In addition to the eastern corridor that passes through Vietnam, there is also the middle corridor, which is planned to connect China’s southwestern provinces of Guangxi and Yunnan directly to Bangkok and from there to Singapore. In addition to this, there is also a western corridor that envisages connecting China to Thailand through Myanmar.
China-Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEK)
In line with this project, China plans to connect to Myanmar’s Kyaukpyu Port. Thus, it will be able to connect to the blue economic corridor in the Bay of Bengal. Thanks to the Myanmar Corridor, China has created an alternative to the B-China-India-Myanmar Corridor, which has reached an impasse due to its disputes with India. It is also important because ÇMEK will pacify the Strait of Malacca.
The China-Myanmar Economic Corridor consists of three main projects:
- An oil and gas pipeline connecting Myanmar’s strategic port city of Kyaukpyu with China’s southern Yunnan state. (Complete)
- Construction of an industrial park with textile, food and building material industries in the Free Trade Zone in Kyaukpyu. Also the development of an oil terminal in Kyaukphyu and the construction of a deep-sea port.
- Construction of a railway connecting Kyaukpyu to Mandalay and then Kunming. (The suspended project is scheduled to be restarted.)
Of the 24 projects proposed by China under the CCT, only 9 have been accepted by the Government of Myanmar so far. The most important of these are: Kyaukpyu Special Economic Zone; the border trade areas of Myitkyina, Muse and Kanpiketi in Kachin and Shan provinces; It is a new city near Yangon and the Muse-Mandalay Railway Line, which will cover an area twice the size of Singapore.
In 2020, 60.5 billion dollars were invested within the scope of the Belt and Road Initiative, while 59.5 billion dollarsofinvestment was realized in 2021. In the year in question, no financing or investment was provided for projects in the field of coal. Financing and investments in the field of green energy amounted to 6.3 billion d and 6.4 billion dollars in the petrol sector. China’s financing and investments have expanded mostly to African and Middle Eastern countries. Iraq has been the largest beneficiary of China’s Belt and Road Initiative investments in 2021.
Between 2013 and 2022, the value of infrastructure projects financed by Chinese-owned banks reached about $890 billion in the countries participating in the Belt and Road Entry. China’s Belt and Enterprise’s largest financier bank is considered the “Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)”. The other relevant Chinese financier bank is the YDevelopment Bank (NDB), or BRICS Bank, which is supported by the BRICS countries. The biggest lenders in these projects are China’s policy banks. These; It is the Export Bank of China (EXIM) and the Development Bank of China (CDB). These two banks are the biggest sources of finance for the Belt and Road Initiative projects.