Latin America

Coronavirus reshapes Belt and Road in Latin America

China-backed infrastructure projects slow in the region while new opportunities emerge in health and digital technology

belt and road initiative latin america
Chilean President Sebastián Piñera with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at the second Belt and Road Forum in April 2019. Photo: Alamy

The disruptions of the coronavirus pandemic have taken a toll on China’s flagship foreign infrastructure and investment program, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Its nature, pace, and scope are all likely subject to change in Latin America in the near- and long-term. Many Chinese-backed projects framed as part of BRI have hit the brakes across the region, as the Covid-19 crisis affecting industries, supply chains, and the movement of people and goods. Many countries have been in lockdown for months, with only essential activities authorized.

There have been fewer new Chinese infrastructure projects...

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