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China throws down the gauntlet on development aid

14 6 3

After he launched the Belt and Road initiative (BRI), the multitrillion-dollar infrastructure development program that is reshaping global economies, you’d think the world would hang on Chinese President Xi Jinping’s every word when he addressed that subject.

You’d be wrong. Xi’s announcement of the Global Development Initiative (GDI) at the United Nations General Assembly last September has been pretty much ignored.

Western governments have recognized the challenge and created their own programs to fill the yawning infrastructure gap in the developing world. They are going to have to go beyond speeches and slogans, however, and put real money on the table if they are going to be taken seriously. A close reading of their efforts isn’t reassuring.

The GDI aims to promote more robust, greener and more balanced global development. This means putting development higher on the global policy agenda and promoting policy coordination among major economies to ensure continuity, consistency and sustainability. In his U.N. remarks, Xi highlighted the special needs of developing countries — explicitly aligning Beijing with those nations — and urged the world to speed up implementation of the U.N. 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency, crowed that “this major initiative constitutes a fresh Chinese solution to advancing sustained global growth, economic recovery and narrowing the disparities among countries amid the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic” China’s Foreign Ministry added that it would be based on a “true multilateralism” that is “open to the whole world.”

Chinese diplomats have touted the GDI at every opportunity and lined up support. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that the U.N. backs the initiative and U.N. agencies have been signing agreements with Chinese counterparts that highlight and institutionalize cooperation. The 53 nations that attended last month’s ministerial conference for the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation offered their support for the GDI in the Dakar Action Plan (2022-2024).

The GDI builds on the successes of........

© The Japan Times

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