G-7 Infrastructure plan to counter BRI | By Waseem Shabbir


G-7 Infrastructure plan to counter BRI

IN recent times, G-7 summit was held in Germany’s Elmau on June 26, 2022. As usual, this summit was again focused on crafting anti-China policies, agreements and nexuses.

However, the gigantic development came to fore this time is the proclamation of a mega project named “Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment” (PGII) unanimously by G7 countries including USA, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and European Union.

Actually, the launching of this partnership is the continuation of the same G7’s last year’s scheme unveiled in Cornwall’s summit labelled as “Build Back Better World” (B3W) but in a new packing.

The prime objective of both of these initiatives is starkly to give an alternative to China’s globally expanding project of Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

All G7 countries have pledged to collectively make a huge investment of USD 600 billion for next five years upto 2027.

The US itself will contribute USD 200 billion alone. As a countermeasure against China’s BRI, this humongous amount will be invested in developing countries solely to improve their infrastructure.

The projects to be funded under “Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment” initiative fall into four broad categories — clean energy, health systems, information and communications technology and gender equality.

The major investment on all above mentioned projects has been announced as below. First, investment of $2 billion for a solar project in Angola have been committed.

It would be covering solar mini-grids, home power kits and solar for powering telecommunications.

Second, $600 million pledged for US company which would build a submarine telecommunications cable that will connect Singapore to France through Egypt and the Horn of Africa, delivering high-speed internet.

Third, for World Bank’s Childcare Incentive, funds of $50 million has been announced from the US.

It would also be supported by Canada, Australia and numerous other Foundations.Fourth, the Institute Pasteur de Dakar in Senegal would get funds of worth $3.3 million for the development of an industrial-scale and multi-vaccine manufacturing facility in the country.

In partnership with G7 nations and European Union, this would produce Covid-19 vaccines and others.

The US National Security Adviser Jack Sullivan who is an important member of this newly launched project, uttered at a strategic event hosted by Centre for New American Security last week that the US-initiated partnership will lay a focus on global infrastructure, physical health, and digital structures which would provide an alternative to what China’s BRI is offering.

It will be one of the hallmarks of Biden Administration foreign policy over his remaining tenure.

Corresponding to Jack Sullivan’s statement, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Wang Wenbin, also said at a regular press briefing in Beijing that China welcomed G7 efforts to promote global infrastructure development via (PGII) provided that Biden’s initiative was based on “Zero-sum game approach”.

If a sane and prudent comparison is made between BRI and PGII, we will come to know — BRI stands out to be a broader project before this tiny (PGII) initiative.

This transcontinental long-term plan termed (BRI) is spanning over 71 countries primarily from Asia, Europe, Eastern Africa and Middle East.

The infrastructure corridors in the above stated regions will cost an estimated USD 4 to 8 trillion that is expected to touch figure of 30 trillion up to 2035; whereas, the US under PGII is merely intending a meagre amount of $ 600 billion to invest in developing countries collectively from 7 top economies as opposed to the spending in trillions from China alone.

According to official data, China had invested USD 139.8 billion by 2020 in BRI projects including USD 22.5 billion alone last year.

This includes the BRI flagship project of USD 60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in which Beijing has so far invested over $ 25 billion in December 2021 contrary to minute amount of USD 2.

8 billion G7 under (PGII) will invest in first go merely in a few countries. Unlike PGII soft projects, projects of BRI are mainly focused on hard infrastructure which includes building bridges, spreading network of rail and roads, minings, construction of sea ports, and laying oil and gas pipelines across Asia, Europe and the Middle East with the sole objective of expediting global connectivity & this is what (PGII) entirely lacks.

Critically examined, initiation of such schemes by US-led G-7 is not something unheard previously.

Embarking on the policy of containment of China, US has always strived to launch the projects like B3W and now PGII.

It is only the China’s rise that has compelled and pressed the US and its allies to announce these initiatives solely to counterbalance China’s BRI.

Otherwise bloc of G7 has nothing to do with the betterment, prosperity and infrastructural development of third world countries.

The nefarious designs of western powers to trap developing countries in their inescapable net of IMF is not clandestine from anyone.

Therefore, these initiatives by the West aimed at ameliorating life of the people in poor countries is absolutely unjustifiable.

It is an undeniable truth that a new world order is rapidly evolving from unipolar to bipolar which is blatantly bullying the US unilateralism.

Both the China’s economic might and Russia’s military resurgence are posing a great threat to the US hegemony all over the globe.

More than any other resurging and resuscitating power, China alone, being the second largest economy in the world is becoming a molesting pain for the US, which might replace US as superpower soon, if it keeps rising and progressing with the same pace and momentum.

The US has left no stone unturned and has practised all kinds of stratagems to counter China’s rise.

In fit of virulence against China, the US, besides B3W and PGII, had also forged military alliances termed as AUKUS and QUAD with her allies including India, Australia, Japan and the United Kingdom specifically to diminish China’s influence and hinder its progressivism in the Indo-Pacific region.

Moreover, in a foil attempt to get upper hand over all other economic and social blocs, the G7 nations in their last summit haughtily declared this group as an “International Society” which was later on heavily criticized and mocked by China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian.

He said, “bloc representing merely 777 million population could not dictate the global terms as opposed to the BRICS that represents over 3.2 billion population”.

Thus, it is proved that G7 bid wrapped in this newly announced initiative of (PGII) is too frail to counter China’s BRI— a vigorous economic project.

—The writer is a Freelance Columnist from Gujranwala.


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