The U.S., along with G7 partners the U.K., Japan, France, Canada, Germany, Italy, and the European Union (EU), had in 2021 announced the launch of the Build Back Better World (B3W) with the aim of narrowing the $40 trillion infrastructure gap in the developing world. On similar lines, recently the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII) was unveiled.
EXPLANATION OF PGII:
The leaders announced the collective mobilization of $600 billion by 2027 to deliver “game-changing” and “transparent” infrastructure projects to developing and middle-income countries. The G7 members aim to collectively invest in sustainable and quality infrastructure projects in developing countries, including India, and strengthen global supply chains. Mr. Biden announced the country’s pledge to channel $200 billion in grants, public financing, and private capital over the next five years for the PGII. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen declared Europe’s pledge of mobilising 300 billion euros for the partnership over the same period.
All PGII projects will be driven by “four priority pillars that will define the second half of the 21st century”:
PGII is largely seen as a counter to China’s multi-trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a strategy that seeks to connect Asia with Africa and Europe via land and maritime networks with the aim of improving regional integration, increasing trade and stimulating economic growth.
The following are the conceivable differences between both the projects:
|1.||G7 has specifically touted the PGII as a values-based plan to help underfunded low and middle-income countries meet their infrastructure needs||It was started to revive connectivity, trade, and infrastructure along what was China’s ancient Silk Road|
|2.||Lays focus on climate action and clean energy||Includes large coal-fired plants along with solar, hydro, and wind energy projects|
|3.||Large private capital will be mobilised||Majorly state-funded|
|4.||G7 emphasizes on transparency as the cornerstone of PGII projects||Faced criticism for making countries sign confidential tenders for extending massive loans, leaving countries indebted to China. For instance, after the BRI’s flagship $62 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, Pakistan owes Beijing a large proportion of its foreign debt. Studies have shown that 89% of the contractors participating in BRI projects are Chinese|
|5.||Aims to build projects through grants and investments.||China builds BRI’s projects by extending large, low-interest loans to countries that have to usually be paid over 10 years. There have been cases of debt-saddled countries failing to repay on time. Sri Lanka, for instance, had to cede its key Hambantota Port on a 99-year lease to China|
|6.||India is a participant- a PGII projects has already been announced in India||India had opted out of China’s BRI, being wary of Beijing’s aim to increase its influence in the Indian Ocean Region by roping in Pakistan as a major BRI recipient.|
PGII initiative could benefit developing countries particularly India by offering finance for latest infrastructure and supporting decarbonisation efforts. Indian entrepreneurs and companies working to increase food security and improve the rural economy also stand to benefit from this global infrastructure investment partnership. PGII, if successful will help us move ahead towards achieving SDG 17/ Global Goal 17 -“Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.