Developing countries require an estimated $40 trillion for infrastructure and development financing to bridge an investment gap and propel them toward prosperity, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. For at least two decades, China has been the major financier of infrastructure development in Africa, more recently through the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). But this year, the G7 launched the Build Back Better World (B3W) Initiative, a partnership aimed at mobilizing infrastructure investments in low and middle-income countries, including those in Africa.
While Western media coverage of the B3W frames the initiative in the starkly competitive terms of “geopolitical rivalry” or “strategic competition,” the reality is likely to be more complex. How might the G7 position the B3W as a genuine answer to the infrastructure challenges in Africa, as opposed to solely a Western “alternative” to Chinese influence?
Join us for an in-depth conversation with leading scholars on U.S., China, and Africa policy to discuss whether the BRI and B3W can address Africa’s financing needs and how to avoid the negative spillovers of great power competition on the African continent.
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Zainab Usman is director of the Africa Program at Carnegie. Her fields of expertise include institutions, economic policy, energy policy and emerging economies in Africa.
Conor Savoy is a senior fellow with the Project on Prosperity and Development at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Yuen Yuen Ang is associate professor of political science at the University of Michigan and author of the award-winning book, How China Escaped the Poverty Trap.
Anzetse Were is senior economist at Financial Sector Deepening Kenya.
David Ndii is founder and managing director of Africa Economics and a former economic advisor to the governments of Rwanda and Kenya.