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Home » China must consider environment effect, economic fragility for BRI projects: Study

China must consider environment effect, economic fragility for BRI projects: Study

China must consider environment effect, economic fragility for BRI projects: Study

Highlighting environmental concerns, a new study in China argues that the majority of Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) investment should go to countries in southern and southeast Asia due to fewer risks that threaten economic development.

Professor Fang Chuanglin, a senior adviser to the Chinese government with a multidisciplinary research institute in Beijing asserted that some countries like Iran and Afghanistan were poor and in desperate need of economic development, however, their fragile environment could collapse in rapid growth, The Star reported.

According to the study led by Prof Fang, there were also many underdeveloped countries along the sea route through the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean, however, their environmental footprints remained much smaller.

This study comes at a time when China has sought to step up cooperation with Central Asian countries on security issues amid fears of a resurgence of terrorism in Afghanistan and subsequent threat to its BRI infrastructure projects in the region.

The project has been greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with Beijing quietly scaling back the project, particularly in the emerging markets of Africa, due to banks being over-extended and loans not being repaid on time.

Of late, Beijing has been criticised for financing economically unviable projects, leaving the home countries with heavy debt. According to Fang, to China, a bigger concern should be the environmental issue.

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