Bangladesh minister urges caution over China’s BRI

By Andy Brown09 August 2022

The finance minister of Bangladesh has said that developing countries should consider whether they want to take loans through China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) infrastructure scheme, as global inflation is making repaying them harder.

AHM Mustafa Kama made his comments following news that Sri Lanka, which had been heavily dependent on Chinese assistance for supporting its economy, has officially declared bankruptcy.

The finance minister is reported to have said about BRI, “Whatever the situation [that] is going on worldwide, everybody will be thinking twice to agree to this project. Everybody is blaming China. China cannot disagree. It’s their responsibility.”

Last month Bangladesh approached the IMF for financing as surging commodity prices after Russia’s  invasion of Ukraine weighed on its foreign reserves.

It is estimated that Bangladesh owes approximately US$4 billion, or 6% of its total foreign debt, to Beijing.

China’s BRI has been incredibly successful, with more than 140 countries members of the initiative, including G7 member Italy, although it has been criticised before for the high levels of debts it leaves some developing countries with.

At the most recent G7 Summit the Partnership for Global Infrastructure (PGII) was launched – this aims to mobilise US$600 billion by 2027 in global infrastructure investments, and is seen as a rival to China’s BRI. 

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