It is a huge sum: the G7 countries want to invest a total of 600 billion US dollars in developing and emerging countries by 2027. It is not difficult to see a project against the Chinese initiative of the “New Silk Road”.
There was already talk of a massive infrastructure program at last year’s G7 summit in Cornwall. But the central questions – scope, content, and financing – remained completely unanswered at the time. The G7 countries have now done their homework. The program is taking shape. The “Sibner Group”, according to Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, “is the most important financier of investment projects in developing countries.”
Although no one specifically mentioned China’s 2013 New Silk Road, the ultimate goal is to counter this project, which also costs several hundreds of billions of US dollars, and Beijing’s growing influence in the Global South. “But something different,” US President Joe Biden asserts, “with more transparency, true partnership, and consideration for workers and the environment.”
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According to the Western interpretation, Beijing’s initiative pushes poor countries into a debt trap and ultimately benefits China. On the other hand, the Western initiative focuses on sustainable energy supply, climate protection and healthcare.
Examples include a large vaccine factory in Senegal, new underwater data cables from Southeast Asia through Africa, from the Middle East to Europe, solar energy systems in Angola, equity projects in the world of work or climate-friendly transportation infrastructure.
China shows how to win friends
The G7 countries and the European Union cannot and do not want to pay alone. “We want to involve international development banks like the World Bank and, above all, private investors,” emphasizes German Chancellor Olaf Schulz. It shouldn’t be about philanthropy and development assistance in the classic sense – it’s more about projects that are ultimately commercial, that is, that generate income.
The G7 recognized that if it wanted a chance to get the Third World on its side in the Ukraine conflict, it had to mitigate the damage and become more involved in poor countries. China shows how to win friends.
Diplomatic Correspondent, SRF
The diplomatic reporter is deputy editor-in-chief of SRF Radio. Before he began working on radio, he was the foreign affairs editor at St. Galer Tagblatt is Middle East editor and correspondent for the Zeit newspaper in Paris and editor-in-chief of Weltwoche.
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