For those who still doubt that the “Belt and Road Initiative” could boost regional development, AidData, an American thinktank, has recently published a report that proves that BRI projects along the new Silk Roads reduce territorial inequalities.
In this report, AidData shows that BRI infrastructure development and construction projects have great impact in the poorest rural areas.
This thinktank conducted its research by analysing night light satellite maps and drew conclusions from the evolution of luminosity in regions receiving development aids. According to their methodology, areas where Chinese development projects have been implemented, have experiences a noticeable increase of night luminosity, which is an indicator of their economic development.
AidData notes that projects supported by China are different from those set up by Western states and international donors. Chinese projects mainly focus on rural areas and medium-sized towns, while other donors’ projects usually deal with large economic centers. Programs financed by China would thus better integrate the most fragile regions.
However, as noted by authors, this methodology does not take into account all the development factors and long-term consequences of funded projects.
Of course it is important not to create artificial competition between China and other countries’ programs, but we need to learn from the various initiatives to improve aid projects.