Beijing: The Group of Seven (G7) countries in June 2022 came out with a new programme – Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII) to meet the financial and technical needs for building quality infrastructure in low- and middle-income countries in order to end the dominance of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
Valerio Fabbri, writing in Geopolitica.info said that unlike Chinese projects plagued by low cost, loose standards, and hurried timelines, the PGII initiative can be a major win for global welfare and sustainable development, with its emphasis on human infrastructure at the core of the global development ambitions.
As the experiences of Sri Lanka and Pakistan have shown, building infrastructure with BRI loans has landed the recipient countries into a debt trap. Both Colombo and Islamabad are now burdened with a high debt.
In the worst scenario, Sri Lanka has witnessed a political upheaval as a consequence of the debt burden, failing to import its requirements of food and fuel and finally defaulting on debt repayment, leading to the collapse of the government.
BRI loans are shrouded in opaque conditionalities. Beijing often interferes with the internal governance in the recipient countries, there are such instances again in both Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
Instead of empowering workers in the recipient countries, projects are executed by Chinese firms with imported Chinese labourers, said Fabbri.
The BRI projects are also highly exploitative in nature. An ongoing project for the construction of a port in Peru, the Chancay Multipurpose Port Terminal, is poised to destroy local flora and fauna, emit substantial toxic pollutants, and displace local communities.
The International Monetary Fund, too, has issued a warning to other nations against the danger posed by indebtedness, citing the instance of the unprecedented economic crisis in Sri Lanka.
Meanwhile, the PGII aims to build projects through grants and investments, while under the BRI China extends large amounts of loans that have to be usually paid over 10 years.
The G7 has pledged USD 600 billion by 2027 under the PGII, but the actual amount available could be much more, as under PGII a large private capital could also be mobilised.
Moreover, the infrastructures that the G7 countries plan to build are technically superior and of a higher quality than the infrastructure China is building in different countries under BRI funding, said Fabbri.
The emphasis of the PGII is on building human infrastructure in the developing world, and improving the quality of education and of health care facilities, reported Geopolitica.info.
Unlike Chinese projects plagued by low cost, loose standards, and hurried timelines, the PGII initiative can be a major win for global welfare and sustainable development, with its emphasis on human infrastructure at the core of the global development ambitions.
The G7 countries emphasise on the promotion of health security, digital technology, and also gender equality. The PGII is, in fact, a programme to deliver quality, sustainable infrastructure that will make a difference in people’s lives around the world.
It also aims to strengthen and diversify supply chains, thus breaking the stranglehold of China in the supply of critical inputs like semiconductors that are used to control the flow of current in everyday electrical appliances. (ANI)