COVID-2019 and the Future of the Belt and Road Initiative

31 March 2020

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a very large-scale Chinese initiative supported by more than 130 countries around the globe, is by its very nature a cross-border phenomenon. Thus, it is vulnerable to the coronavirus-induced economic crisis. In this article, EFSD Chief Economist analyzes various negative effects of COVID-19 on the BRI for cross-border movement of goods and people, debt and fiscal sustainability of recipient countries, risks of diminishing availability of financial resources, risks for the emerging multilateralization of the BRI, etc. Based on that, he formulates a number of policy recommendations. The article ends up with a plea to look beyond the immediate effects and limitations faced in the heat of the battle against the coronavirus-induced crisis. The BRI community should perceive and treat the BRI as a truly long-term policy.

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