G20 Seeks Closer East and West – Sans China

by | 11. Sep 2023 - 12:17 | Politics

Extensive infrastructure projects planned, including hydrogen transport; Biden sees project as historic.

India, the Middle East, and Europe are in line to be brought closer together through a network of railroads and ports. This infrastructure plan, which includes building pipelines for green hydrogen, was unveiled on the sidelines of the G20 summit in New Delhi. Within the next 60 days, working groups will develop a comprehensive catalog of measures with corresponding timetables, according to the declaration of intent (PDF). It was signed by Saudi Arabia, the EU, India, the United Arab Emirates, France, Germany, Italy, and the U.S.

U.S. President Joe Biden described the agreement as historic; it is seen as a counter-project to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, with which the country wants to secure international influence. With Italy’s withdrawal from the project, announced over the weekend, Beijing loses its only partner from the ranks of the G7 countries. As Handelsblatt writes, there is also growing skepticism in the countries of the global South that the initiative, which will be used to build roads and ports, among other things, will lead them into a debt trap. Countries are taking out loans from China for the projects, but are increasingly unable to service them on schedule, writes the German Institute for the World Economy. As a result, more and more refinancing loans are being granted, and dependence on the People’s Republic is growing.

The EU and the U.S. also agreed on the sidelines of the G20 meeting to support the development of a trans-African link between Angola, Zambia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. This is intended to better tap the region’s enormous potential, according to a joint statement. The so-called Copperbelt between Zambia and the Democratic Region is one of the world’s most important copper mining areas, and critical minerals such as cobalt are also present there.

Photo: iStock/Petmal

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