Hidden Debt Plagues China’s Belt and Road Infrastructure Plan, Studies Find

The Wall Street Journal

Hidden debt and problematic projects are emerging as features of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, with several research reports pointing to headwinds facing President Xi Jinping’s international infrastructure-development program.

Trillions of dollars in investment are needed around the world for infrastructure, which can mean anything from bridges to healthcare. China’s program represents an enormous injection of funds for some of the most needy nations, but it has stirred global debate about the way China finances and manages its projects.

In its deep dive into Belt and Road projects, AidData, a research center at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va., counted 42 low- and middle-income countries that now have debt exposure to China exceeding 10% of their annual gross domestic product.

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