44 cases of pneumonia in Wuhan, has become the Covid-19 global pandemic. Wuhan, the manufacturing centre that helped to power China’s flagship Belt and Road Initiative, has become the epicentre of a health crisis
many of those projects.
The corridors that facilitate the flow of goods can be conduits for pathogens and disease. As Covid-19 spreads, is the Belt and Road Initiative at risk of becoming an infection thoroughfare?
Yet the authorities are aware that the outbreak is causing difficulties for overseas projects. On March 2, China Development Bank said it would provide low-cost loans to affected belt-and-road-related companies, although presumably these will go mainly or exclusively to Chinese firms.
, the transport minister warned that a billion-dollar bridge project was under threat. In Nigeria, a major rail project was put on hold. Pakistan’s planning and development minister said the US$62 billion
faced delays. Indonesia’s investment minister has also announced delays for the Jakarta-Bandung
by travel bans and quarantines.
, port closures,
and blocked roads prevented supplies and equipment from reaching sites. Burmese media described trucks “lined up idly on both sides of the border”. These and other disruptions are causing delays, missed deadlines, increased costs, and are likely to lead to bankruptcies for local contractors.