Submission Deadline-12th April 2024
April 2024 Issue : Publication Fee: 30$ USD Submit Now
Submission Deadline-20th April 2024
Special Issue of Education: Publication Fee: 30$ USD Submit Now

International Journal of Research and Scientific Innovation (IJRSI) |Volume X, Issue I, January 2023|ISSN 2321-2705

Economic Benefit through Belt and Road Initiative: Challenges and Options for Bangladesh

A F M Atiqur Rahman1, Dr. Md. Shariful Islam2, Al Jamal Mustafa Shindaini3
1Former Dean, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Bangladesh University of Professionals (BUP) Mirpur Cantonment, Dhaka-1216, Bangladesh
2Associate Professor, Department of Economics, Bangladesh University of Professionals (BUP), Mirpur Cantonment, Dhaka-1216, Bangladesh
3Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, Bangladesh University of Professionals (BUP), Mirpur Cantonment, Dhaka-1216, Bangladesh
* Corresponding author

IJRISS Call for paper

Abstract: The economic rise of China is one of the greatest events of the twenty-first century, and countries around the world have taken tremendous interest in China due to its ambitious Belt and Road initiative (BRI) which has been hailed by Chinese president Xi Jinping as “the project of the century”. As of December 2021, 145 countries have joined the initiative which seeks to link Asia with Africa and Europe through land and maritime networks with the purpose of enhancing regional integration, boosting trade, and increasing economic growth. Bangladesh has also welcomed BRI in 2016 involving itself through one of its six economic corridors- the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) and has taken its bilateral relationship to a new height. Of the 27 project agreements for investments and loans totaling around $24.45 billion signed in 2016, nine projects worth more than $7 billion are presently underway as part of the BRI. The goal of this study is to look at the economic benefits that Bangladesh is expected to gain from the BRI. It critically examines the economic involvement of China in Bangladesh to identify how that impacts local economy. In this regard, the economic and geopolitical challenges arising from Bangladesh’s involvement in the initiative are examined, and possible options for Bangladesh are highlighted. The methodology of the paper is analytical and descriptive in nature.

Key words: Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Bangladesh, China, the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM)

I. Introduction

Maintaining a close relation in terms of diplomacy, economy, and defence for almost five decades Bangladesh has now reached a new height of bilateral relationship with China especially due to the membership of BRI initiative proposed by China in 2016. Globally this initiative is seen as strengthening ties with neighboring nations, with a greater emphasis on connectivity, commerce, and economic inclusion (Clarke, 2017). The BRI initiative has been a matter of great interest to the academic circles and the policymakers in South Asia due to one of its major economic corridors located in the region: the Bangladesh– China–India–Myanmar Economic Corridor (BCIM-EC), with which the economies of Bangladesh, China, India, and Myanmar are expected to be integrated through regional connectivity (Saimum, 2020). As a result of China’s rising attention in the territory, Beijing has already pledged to invest in key areas of the economy of Bangladesh. Out of 27 project agreements signed in 2016 for investments and loans totaling around $24.45 billion, nine projects worth more than $7 billion are presently underway as part of the BRI, including the mega project of the Padma Bridge Rail Link, the Bangabandhu tunnel under the Karnaphuli River, and the Dasher Kandi Wastewater Treatment Plant (Chakma, 2020). According to China, seven Chinese projects are nearing completion; loan agreements for three projects have been signed; two projects are in commercial negotiations; three are in the evaluation stage, and four listed projects are scheduled to be replaced with four new projects in accordance with Bangladesh’s proposal (Rahman, 2021). Therefore, after 7 years of BRI activities in Bangladesh, BRI is no longer confined within paper works and announcements of promises, but tangible work and footing are starting to be in place on the ground. It is time to evaluate the economic benefits that Bangladesh can reap out of the existing Chinese BRI related investment projects as well as the projects under consideration.
The goal of this research is to examine the economic gains of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) from the perspective of Bangladesh. It will also critically investigate China’s economic presence in Bangladesh to understand how it affects the local economy. In this regard, the economic issues arising from Bangladesh’s involvement in the effort will be analyzed, and possible choices for Bangladesh will be discussed