SINGAPORE (Nov 26): Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to Singapore reignited the discussion of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), what it means and the opportunities that it offers. Once called the New Silk Road, the name change to BRI reflects a broader policy agenda. Some countries are pushing back with their own version of the infrastructure component of the BRI. This reflects an unsophisticated understanding of the BRI policy.
The policy has four main pillars. The first, and most often talked about, is the physical infrastructure component. This is the building of new ports, bridges and railways. There is a massive infrastructure deficit in the region.
The Asian Development Bank has been joined by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and a proposed Australian-led infrastructure bank, to help meet the capital demands in the region. From an investment perspective, the increase in infrastructure projects offers business growth opportunities. Construction, service, design and supply entities are useful targets for investors.