Launched in 2013 with great fanfare, the Belt and Road initiative, also known as ‘The New Silk Road’ is a colossal investment programme that aims to link economies of countries in Asia, Europe and Africa into a China centered trading network.These economic corridors are realised through big ticket infrastructure projects such as airports as well as a network of highways, railways and seaports covering more than 100 countries.
Until recently, the project was well on track to become the most successful cross border investment and economic integration programme to help reinvigorate the global economy. That was until the COVID-19 pandemic unleashed a global health emergency and halted its unrelenting progress. What will become of China’s Belt and Road initiative across Asia and beyond? Will COVID-19 pandemic force a major rethink of China New Silk Road project?