In just over six years, China’s Belt and Road Initiative has swiftly expanded to vast swaths of the globe, with as many as 138 countries signing on. In 2017, President Xi Jinping’s signature project was incorporated into the Chinese constitution, assuming extraordinary significance as the “project of the century.” China has couched the program in multilateral terms, with a promise of shared benefits through road and maritime connectivity projects, reviving the ancient Silk Road and revivifying the spirit of commercial, cultural and academic exchange. Cooperation among member countries is envisaged in policy coordination, facilities connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration, and people-to-people bonds. However, an active debate has ensued surrounding China’s motivations and the initiative’s potential outcomes for the host countries. Against this backdrop, I examine the economic implications for host countries and regions, using a geo-economic analytical framework.

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