Still, giant as the Belt and Road Initiative is, there is no doubt that it will have to face and fend off risks and difficult challenges along the way forward.
Engstrom Anna believes political risk has to be considered. As many of China’s overseas projects under the initiative need many years to finish, they could run into troubles under such a scenario as the change of government in the countries Chinese investors work with.
In Hillman’s view, if the initiative to achieve greater success in the future, it needs to set clear priorities, like what kind of projects would be chosen.
“It’s like that if you have so many goals, it’s hard to implement that. You need to focus on what matters most,” he said.
Despite the potential challenges, the initiative is going to have a bright future, for the potential demand is enormous and the benefits are also great for all sides.
According to the AIIB, the belt and road region has about 750 billion dollars for infrastructure a year through 2020.
A recent Bloomberg report said that if these infrastructure investments were to be fully realized, then that would mean 580 million tons in annual cement demands.
The report also said that meeting all of Asia’s demand for railways, pipelines and power stations and other projects may generate 272 million tons of demands for steel.
The huge demand in cement and steel bears tremendous opportunities for China to advance industrial capacity cooperation. Those who choose to work with China, especially countries and regions in the less developed world, can use this chance to close up their infrastructure gap to prepare for future economic takeoff.
Moreover, the program could also boost shipping and cargo demands as planned infrastructure investments improve ports that dot the silk route.