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Alternatives to the Belt and Road Initiative

The State of Play and Potential for the Future

Oxford Silk Road Society

Winter 2021

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Alternatives to the Belt and Road Initiative

January 2022

Oxford Silk Road Think Tank’s policy report, 'Alternatives to the Belt and Road Initiative: The State of Play and Potential for the Future', analyses the current state of alternatives to the Belt and Road Initiative, and paths to realizing their potential

Our report sections

A Nascent Assessment

Margaret Siu & Ben Hales

As the Belt and Road Initiative continues expanding, advanced economies have responded in turn by creating alternatives to China’s expansive program. While these burgeoning alternative programs address perceived weaknesses of the BRI and strive to deliver unique regional or sectoral benefits, governments must account for key organisational challenges to sustain their visions. 

Agriculture and water management have been identified as key sectors
in Kazakhstan’s transition to a Green Economy. Both industries are also highly vulnerable to climate change. This briefing addresses both issues in relation to Sino-Kazakh relations and Chinese investment in Kazakhstan. It recommends increased co-operation in response to COVID-19 and public protest over China’s use of the Ili River.

This article focuses on the establishment of the “Global Gateway” initiative, widely seen as the EU’s answer to China’s BRI, and on the initial, unenthusiastic, responses of its aimed African recipients. The report offers policy recommendations for a more effective, more inclusive Global Gateway initiative. 


The EU’s “Global Gateway” Initiative and African Responses 

Juliana Bouchaud & Pier Ferdinando Cinotto

The vision for the Asia Africa Growth Corridor (AAGC) suggests that it could play a positive role in Africa’s development and a complementary role in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). However, the achievements made by the AAGC have been rather limited. This report proposes three policy recommendations for the AAGC.


The Asia Africa Growth Corridor
Its Vision and Current Achievements

Yuhan Hu

Promulgated in 2016, Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy is the flagship foreign policy of Tsai Ing-wen’s administration.  In public discourses, the NSP has been frequently compared with Mainland China’s BRI strategy. This case study reviews the political context of the NSP to discuss which domestic purposes it is serving. It continues by critically discussing the achievements of the NSP through economic, social and political aspects with a focus on Southeast Asia.

Taiwan’s New
Southbound Policy

Mingke Ma

This report offers an early assessment of the prospects of the U.S.-led Build Back Better World initiative. After providing background on the programme and explaining its differences to the Belt and Road Initiative, it details coordination, funding and diplomatic issues the initiative will have to overcome and offers recommendations based on previous similar schemes.

Rory Gillis

Can Build Back Better
World offer an alternative to China’s Belt and Road

A Summation and Broad Policy Recommendations.


Margaret Siu & Ben Hales

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