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Abstract

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has expanded from 65 original member states during its official launch in 2015 to 131 as of April 2019. The countries of the Middle East and North Africa have generally welcomed the initiative and its goal of improving regional connectivity. However, each economy has a different capacity to benefit from the BRI, depending on its size, structure, level of development, and various idiosyncratic features. These characteristics, in turn, shape BRI investments and programs for each host country and their related bilateral (and multilateral) engagement with China, such as the creation of joint action plans, the adjustment of governance structures, and the development of institutional capacity and policy frameworks.

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