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Belt and Road Initiative

Brief History

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. 

Included States

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
CountryRegionIncome Group
AfghanistanSouth AsiaMiscarriage
AlbaniaEurope & Central AsiaUpper of the Middle
AngolaSub-Saharan AfricaBelow Middle
Antigua ve BarbudaLatin America & CaribbeanHigh
ArgentinaLatin America & CaribbeanAbove Middle
ArmeniaEurope & Central AsiaAbove Middle
Austria*Europe & Central AsiaHigh
AzerbaijanEurope & Central AsiaAbove Middle
BahrainMiddle East & North AfricaHigh
BangladeshSouth AsiaBelow Middle
BarbadosLatin America & CaribbeanHigh
BelarusEurope & Central AsiaAbove Middle
Benin*Sub-Saharan AfricaMiscarriage
United Arab EmiratesMiddle East & North AfricaHigh
BoliviaLatin America & CaribbeanBelow Middle
Bosnia and HerzegovinaEurope & Central AsiaAbove Middle
BotswanaSub-Saharan AfricaAbove Middle
BruneiEast Asia & PacificHigh
BulgariaEurope & Central AsiaAbove Middle
BurundiSub-Saharan AfricaMiscarriage
AlgeriaMiddle East & North AfricaAbove Middle
Cook IslandsEast Asia & PacificAbove Middle
DjiboutiMiddle East & North AfricaBelow Middle
ChadSub-Saharan AfricaMiscarriage
CzechiaEurope & Central AsiaHigh
ChinaEast Asia & PacificAbove Middle
East TimorEast Asia & PacificBelow Middle
DominicaLatin America & CaribbeanMiscarriage
Dominican RepublicLatin America & CaribbeanAbove Middle
EcuadorLatin America & CaribbeanAbove Middle
El SalvadorLatin America & CaribbeanBelow Middle
Equatorial GuineaSub-Saharan AfricaAbove Middle
IndonesiaEast Asia & PacificBelow Middle
EritreaSub-Saharan AfricaMiscarriage
EstoniaEurope & Central AsiaHigh
EthiopiaSub-Saharan AfricaMiscarriage
MoroccoMiddle East & North AfricaBelow Middle
FijiEast Asia & PacificAbove Middle
Ivory CoastSub-Saharan AfricaBelow Middle
PhilippinesEast Asia & PacificBelow Middle
GabonSub-Saharan AfricaAbove Middle
GambiaSub-Saharan AfricaMiscarriage
GeorgiaEurope & Central AsiaBelow Middle
DesireSub-Saharan AfricaBelow Middle
GrenadaLatin America & CaribbeanAbove Middle
GuineaSub-Saharan AfricaMiscarriage
Gine-BissauSub-Saharan AfricaMiscarriage
GuyanaLatin America & CaribbeanAbove Middle
South AfricaSub-Saharan AfricaAbove Middle
South SudanSub-Saharan AfricaMiscarriage
Greek Cypriot Administration of Southern CyprusEurope & Central AsiaHigh
South KoreaEast Asia & PacificHigh
CroatiaEurope & Central AsiaHigh
IraqMiddle East & North AfricaAbove Middle
Islamic Republic of IranMiddle East & North AfricaAbove Middle
ItalyEurope & Central AsiaHigh
JamaicaLatin America & CaribbeanAbove Middle
KazakhstanEurope & Central AsiaAbove Middle
KenyaSub-Saharan AfricaBelow Middle
KiribatiEast Asia & PacificBelow Middle
MontenegroEurope & Central AsiaAbove Middle
Cabo VerdeSub-Saharan AfricaBelow Middle
CambodiaEast Asia & PacificBelow Middle
CameroonSub-Saharan AfricaBelow Middle
QatarMiddle East & North AfricaHigh
Comoros*Sub-Saharan AfricaMiscarriage
Democratic Republic of the CongoSub-Saharan AfricaMiscarriage
Republic of the Congo*Sub-Saharan AfricaBelow Middle
Cost richLatin America & CaribbeanAbove Middle
KuwaitMiddle East & North AfricaHigh
North MacedoniaEurope & Central AsiaAbove Middle
CubaLatin America & CaribbeanAbove Middle
Republic of KyrgyzstanEurope & Central AsiaBelow Middle
LaosEast Asia & PacificBelow Middle
LatviaEurope & Central AsiaHigh
LebanonMiddle East & North AfricaAbove Middle
LesothoSub-Saharan AfricaBelow Middle
LiberiaSub-Saharan AfricaMiscarriage
LibyaMiddle East & North AfricaAbove Middle
LithuaniaEurope & Central AsiaHigh
LuxembourgEurope & Central AsiaHigh
HungaryEurope & Central AsiaHigh
MadagascarSub-Saharan AfricaMiscarriage
MalawiSub-Saharan AfricaMiscarriage
MalaysiaEast Asia & PacificAbove Middle
MaldivesSouth AsiaAbove Middle
MaliSub-Saharan AfricaMiscarriage
MaltaMiddle East & North AfricaHigh
MauritaniaSub-Saharan AfricaBelow Middle
Arab Republic of EgyptMiddle East & North AfricaBelow Middle
MicronesiaEast Asia & PacificBelow Middle
MoldovaEurope & Central AsiaBelow Middle
MongoliaEast Asia & PacificBelow Middle
MozambiqueSub-Saharan AfricaMiscarriage
MyanmarEast Asia & PacificBelow Middle
NamibiaSub-Saharan AfricaAbove Middle
NepalSouth AsiaMiscarriage
NicaraguaLatin America & CaribbeanBelow Middle
Niger*Sub-Saharan AfricaMiscarriage
NigeriaSub-Saharan AfricaBelow Middle
NiueEast Asia & PacificBelow Middle
UzbekistanEurope & Central AsiaBelow Middle
PakistanSouth AsiaBelow Middle
PanamaLatin America & CaribbeanHigh
Papua New GuineaEast Asia & PacificBelow Middle
PeruLatin America & CaribbeanAbove Middle
PolandEurope & Central AsiaHigh
PortugalEurope & Central AsiaHigh
Romania*Europe & Central AsiaAbove Middle
Russia*Europe & Central AsiaAbove Middle
RwandaSub-Saharan AfricaMiscarriage
SamoaEast Asia & PacificAbove Middle
SeychellesSub-Saharan AfricaHigh
Saudi ArabiaMiddle East & North AfricaHigh
SenegalSub-Saharan AfricaMiscarriage
SerbiaEurope & Central AsiaAbove Middle
Sierra LeoneSub-Saharan AfricaMiscarriage
SingaporeEast Asia & PacificHigh
SlovakiaEurope & Central AsiaHigh
SloveniaEurope & Central AsiaHigh
Solomon IslandsEast Asia & PacificBelow Middle
SomaliSub-Saharan AfricaMiscarriage
Sri LankaSouth AsiaBelow Middle
SudanSub-Saharan AfricaBelow Middle
SurinameLatin America & CaribbeanAbove Middle
Syrian Arab RepublicMiddle East & North AfricaMiscarriage
ChileLatin America & CaribbeanHigh
TajikistanEurope & Central AsiaMiscarriage
TanzaniaSub-Saharan AfricaMiscarriage
ThailandEast Asia & PacificAbove Middle
TogoSub-Saharan AfricaMiscarriage
TongaEast Asia & PacificAbove Middle
Trinidad ve TobagoLatin America & CaribbeanHigh
TunisiaMiddle East & North AfricaBelow Middle
TürkiyeEurope & Central AsiaAbove Middle
TurkmenistanEurope & Central AsiaAbove Middle
UgandaSub-Saharan AfricaMiscarriage
UkraineEurope & Central AsiaBelow Middle
OmanMiddle East & North AfricaHigh
UruguayLatin America & CaribbeanHigh
VanuatuEast Asia & PacificBelow Middle
VenezuelaLatin America & CaribbeanAbove Middle
VietnamEast Asia & PacificBelow Middle
YemenMiddle East & North AfricaMiscarriage
New ZealandEast Asia & PacificHigh
GreeceEurope & Central AsiaHigh
ZambiaSub-Saharan AfricaBelow Middle
ZimbabweSub-Saharan AfricaMiscarriage
*: 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
CountryRegionIncome Group
Austria*Europe & Central AsiaHigh
Benin*Sub-Saharan AfricaMiscarriage
Comoros*Sub-Saharan AfricaMiscarriage
Kongo Republic*Sub-Saharan AfricaBelow Middle
Nijer*Sub-Saharan AfricaMiscarriage
Novelor*Europe & Central AsiaAbove Middle
Russia*Europe & Central AsiaAbove 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:

  1. An oil and gas pipeline connecting Myanmar’s strategic port city of Kyaukpyu with China’s southern Yunnan state. (Complete)
  2. 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.
  3. 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.