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Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies

Latest from the Belt and Road Initiative

China is Weaponizing the Belt and Road. What Can the US Do About It?
The BRI-driven trend towards a Chinese sphere of influence is neither inevitable or irreversible. 
The evolving relationship between the international development architecture and China’s Belt and Road Who is making the rules?
China’s entry into foreign assistance 20 years ago has largely coincided with the evolution and advancement of international development architectures in support of shared development good practice and norms.
Is China trying to displace US as top global power? Two analysts differ
Two prominent China analysts debated on Tuesday whether Beijing is attempting to supplant Washington as the foremost global power.
A New Global (?) Infrastructure Initiative: The Blue Dot Network
There are still many unknowns surrounding the Blue Dot Network – a new infrastructure quality certification initiative jointly launched by the United States of America, Japan, and Australia that is often compared to the Belt and Road Initiative of the People` s Republic of China. 
China’s Public Diplomacy in Latin America and the Caribbean — COVID-19 Edition
Beijing is training its envoys in Spanish, Portuguese, and local politics and letting them loose on Twitter in America’s backyard.
Boris Johnson Pushes Back Against China’s ‘Chokehold’ on Barbados Through its Debt Trap Diplomacy
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has reportedly ordered British diplomats to try to counter the “expansionism” of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) Belt and Road initiative following accusations that the regime in Beijing pressured Barbados to remove the Queen as its head of state.
The View from Europe: Washington Consolidates its position in the Caribbean
Speaking recently at Bocas Lit Fest, Jamaica’s former Prime Minister, P.J. Patterson, observed that in recent years there had been a “deliberate attempt” to split the Caribbean.
Blaming China’s investments for Barbados ditching Queen is Sinophobia. What stopped UK from developing its former colony?
The decision by Barbados to axe the British monarch as titular head of state has unleashed anti-China paranoia claiming malign influence from Beijing. This is the poverty of Cold War zero-sum thinking.
Caribbean wouldn't tolerate external interference on Republic status
Of all the fanciful reasons imputed to the decision of the government to make Barbados a Republic, shedding its monarchical status with Queen Elizabeth II as Head of State, the most surprising has come from the Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the British House of Commons, Tom Tugendhat.
How China has Poured Billions into the Caribbean by Investing in Ports, Roads and a Five-Star Resort in a Soft Power Grab – as Beijing is Blamed for Barbados's Calls to Drop the Queen as Head of State
China has poured billions of dollars of investment into the Caribbean while signing tax and trade deals in an attempt to wrest the region out of the West's sphere of influence and bring it under the sway of Beijing.
Pompeo Pitches US business over China in Suriname, Guyana
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday made a direct pitch for fast-growing Suriname and Guyana's new leaders to pick US firms, warning of the risks of China amid an oil boom.
20 New IDB Chief Promoted by Trump Promotes “Pan-Americanism” against China
The new head of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Mauricio Claver-Carone, an American promoted by President Donald Trump to a position that has always been in the hands of Latin Americans, seeks to fulfill “the dream of Pan-Americanism” in the face of China’s advance in the region.
Jamaica received US$2.1 billion to support Medium-Term Socio-Economic Framework

Jamaica received US$2.1 billion in Official Development Assistance (ODA) from International Development Partners (IDP) to advance the Government’s strategic objectives and priorities under the 2018-2021 Medium Term Socio-Economic Policy Framework (MTF).

The Significance of BRI in the Wake of COVID-19

COVID-19 did not just change the world; it also showcases the significance of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). As China recovers from the pandemic, the surge in exports bears testimony to the strong connection binding China and BRI-participating nations and the unbreakable supply chain with Beijing. It also underscored China's leading role in worldwide trade during the COVID-19 pandemic. And this is by itself a good sign for worldwide trade recovery.

Party Secretary Li Meets Latam & Caribbean Envoys
Shanghai Party Secretary Li Qiang hosted a meeting with a delegation of envoys from 18 Latin American and Caribbean countries to China in Shanghai yesterday. Li welcomed the envoys on behalf of the Communist Party of China Shanghai Committee and the Shanghai municipal government, and introduced to them measures taken for the prevention of COVID-19 pandemic as well as the development of economy and society in Shanghai.
Argentina Looks At Joining China’s Belt & Road Initiative: But Balancing US Debt With China Trade Is A Tricky Act For Buenos Aires
Argentina could become the biggest economy in Latin America to join the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), an action that would allow its heavily indebted government to deepen trade and investment ties with China even further. Argentina is one of the main economies, after Brazil, in the Mercosur trade bloc, which includes directly or via associate nations, most of South America.  Thus far, Chile, Uruguay and Venezuela together with Bolivia, Ecuador, Guyana and Suriname have signed up to the initiative, although China has been financing projects to non-BRI member states in Latin America. 
US-China relations: nations failing as global leaders, academics say
China and the United States are failing in their roles as world leaders, and the poor state of their relationship is impeding international collaboration in the fight against 
Covid-19, academics said on Wednesday.  “I see some key global challenges – right now that would be this health pandemic, global climate change, debt problems, bond payment crisis – I really see a failure of the US and China to provide leadership,” David Dollar, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, said at a webinar organised by Centre for China and Globalisation (CCG), a Beijing-based think tank.
Marco Rubio Champions Proposal to Help Western Hemisphere Countries Counter Chinese Influence

On Friday, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., paired up with U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, D-NJ, on the  “Advancing Competitiveness, Transparency, and Security in the Americas (ACTSA) Act.”

Rubio’s office noted that the bill “would strengthen economic competitiveness, expand safeguards for physical and digital infrastructure, and address human rights abuses from digital surveillance technologies in Latin America and the Caribbean” and is “the first comprehensive effort to improve U.S. economic engagement and diplomatic presence, and address the Government of China’s economic, political, security, and intelligence activities in the region.”

A cold wind is blowing from the north
Whether it chooses to take sides or not, the Caribbean is about to find itself swept up into the now almost inevitable superpower confrontation between the United States and China.
Kenya leader warns against US, China rivalry in Africa
Kenya's president said Wednesday that African nations should be free to cooperate with both the United States and China, warning that foreign powers were exacerbating the continent's divisions.