November 7, 2018 Reading Time: 2 minutes
Reading Time: 2 min read
The Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies (LKI) and Chatham House, UK recently launched a major academic study on Chinese outbound investment and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). This study adopts an evidence-based approach to look at the broad benefits and costs of the BRI to recipients in order to improve the implementation of future projects. Carefully reviewing the available data to shift out salient facts from popular misconceptions, the study will focus on Sri Lanka, and international experiences. The outcomes of this joint study will be published in mid-2019.
An inception event brought together distinguished international and local experts for a roundtable on the (i) economic impact of the BRI and lessons for future investment, chaired by Dr. Ganeshan Wignaraja, Executive Director, LKI, (ii) social and environmental impact of the BRI and lessons for a sustainable future, chaired by Dr. Champa Patel, Head, Asia-Pacific Programme, Chatham House, and (iii) BRI’s impact on governance and international relations, chaired by Dr. Dinusha Panditaratne, Nonresident Fellow, LKI. International experts including from the Tsinghua University, Jawaharlal Nehru University, University of Dhaka, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, National University of Singapore, Kunming University of Science and Technology and the University of Nottingham were present at the event.
Mrs. Grace Asirwatham, State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ambassador-Designate of Sri Lanka to the EU and Belgium, and Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, Executive Director, Centre for Policy Alternatives gave introductory remarks.
China’s BRI initiative—currently in its fifth year of implementation—is the largest infrastructure initiative the world has seen since the Marshall Plan by the US to rebuild Europe after WWII. The BRI aims to connect Asia with Africa and Europe via land and maritime networks along six corridors with the aim of improving regional integration, increasing trade and stimulating economic growth. Sri Lanka’s strategic geographical location places it along East-West lanes on the BRI map—the Hambantota Port which pre-dates the BRI initiative, and the recent Colombo Port City project are some of the noted projects linked to this initiative. Other BRI port projects include Piraeus Port in Greece, Gwadar Port in Pakistan and Darwin Port in Australia.
LKI is a think-tank that analyses Sri Lanka’s international relations and strategic interests, to provide insights and recommendations that advance justice, peace, prosperity, and sustainability. The Institute reflects the vision of the late Hon. Lakshman Kadirgamar by promoting the country’s intellectual profile in foreign policy research and engagement. Chatham House, home of the Royal Institute of International Affairs since 1926 is a world-leading source of independent analysis, informed debate and influential ideas on how to build a prosperous and secure world for all.