An Ambitious Chinese-Built Rail Line Through the Himalayas – A Debt Trap for Nepal?


An Ambitious Chinese-Built Rail Line Through the Himalayas – A Debt Trap for Nepal?

China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has ambitions to reshape the global economy by connecting more than 60 countries across Asia, Europe and Africa through trade and infrastructure projects.

All told, it’s envisioned that nearly two-thirds of the world’s population will in some way be connected through BRI projects in the future. Some economists estimate BRI could increase global trade by 12%.

Despite these benefits, many questions have been raised about China’s motivations for the initiative, and whether Beijing can afford the US$1 trillion it has committed to infrastructure projects and its partners can afford the debt they are taking on. Some fear BRI could be a Trojan horse for global domination through debt traps.

Sri Lanka is often cited as a cautionary tale. Unable to repay the loans on a US$1.5 billion port construction project, the Sri Lankan government agreed to give China a 99-year lease on the port instead. Read More

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