The political economy of development under the Chinese Belt Road Initiative (BRI) [paper]

Farwa Sial (SOAS, University of London)
Juvaria Jafri (City University of London)
Transnational political economies of development
Pentz, Room 101
Friday 21 June, 9:00-10:30

Short abstract:

The China-led Belt Road Initiative (BRI) envisions an ambitious infrastructure corridor spanning continents through road and maritime routes. Covering over 60 countries, the BRI remains an open platform for new countries to join. This panel invites inter-disciplinary approaches to analysis of BRI.

Long abstract:

The Chinese BRI is currently a portfolio of investments emphasising a new economic consensus which focuses on investment and socio-economic growth through new infrastructure and enhanced connectivity. This panel aims to feature an array of perspectives to understand and conceptualise the BRI, emphasising an interdisciplinary approach that will note the entanglement of the BRI with themes that include but are not limited to capitalist accumulation, industrial policy, critical economic geography, the political economy of development, and challenges to the current world order. Considering that BRI is still in its infancy we welcome a broad range of abstracts: • Discussions can focus on issues such as China's own development history and the implications of internationalising Chinese capital based on its own experience. • The BRI connects countries with different socio-economic contexts. The aim of regionalisation and the current interplay of trade wars produces very different implications for these countries.Discussions can be based on the potential transformations which emerging Chinese IFIs such as the AIIB and the Silk Road Fund could potentiate. • The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is considered the lynchpin of the BRI and projects associated with CPEC are in more advance stages than other countries. The geoeconomics of CPEC can potentially be different in comparison to investments in other countries. • Since Chinese investments in Africa preceded the BRI, the analysis of debt and the question of imperialism in context to Chinese aid and investment in Africa and potential lessons for the BRI is another avenue of discussion.