Islamabad, Pakistan: Belt and Road initiative of China is under many hiccups as many small projects under it are closed.
As a result of this, China’s quest to acquire global dominance has taken a severe hit.
The BRI, which was announced as the “Silk Road” in a speech by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, came into being in April 2015 with the announcement of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), stretching from Gwadar to the Chinese city of Kashgar in Xinjiang.
When the CPEC agreements were signed, Pakistan’s government called Gwadar “the economic future of Pakistan,” however the CPEC is on the verge of crisis, as is the BRI itself due to mismanagement, debt crises and corruption that have left many projects unfinished converting the initial optimism into extreme dissappointment.
Many headline projects have either failed to get off the ground or have produced unfavourable results.
Both Pakistan and China claimed that Gwadar’s gross domestic product would increase from an estimated USD 430 million in 2017 to USD 30 billion by 2050, and produce 1.2 million jobs for a population that currently stands at 90,000 but the initiative is now at its worst and sees no hope.
China announced a huge list of development projects in Gwadar — a new airport, the Gwadar Free Zone, a 300-megawatt coal power plant and a water desalination plant but none of these have been completed till date, reported Nikkei Asia.
A 300-MW power plant was to be built in Gwadar but so far the work has not started. The power shortage is the biggest roadblock for any meaningful development in the region.
Adding to this is a chronic water shortage that creates unrest every summer as the government trucks in water for residents. There is a small desalination plant, but it is run only for the benefit of the Chinese workers, stated Nikkei Asia citing sources.
China has become more risk averse with regard to its BRI projects given its own domestic economic challenges and increasing backlash against the BRI in many host countries.
Some countries are scaling down or scrapping entire projects that are part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative amid mounting financial concerns over the continent-spanning venture.
Notably, the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has jolted the financial stability of many other countries including Pakistan which faces a severe deficit in trade balance with Beijing.