Foreign PolicyForeign Policy

West’s Build Back Better Project Takes on China’s BRI

By Keith Johnson

04 Oct 2021 · 8 min read

Last week marked senior Biden administration officials’ first visits to developing countries to scout potential investments in infrastructure projects. Under the rubric of “Build Back Better World,” it was the opening salvo in a battle to counteract China’s trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative.

The U.S. junket comes just a couple of weeks after the European Union formally unveiled, in embryonic form, its own answer to Beijing’s development challenge. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen presented the new “Global Gateway” initiative in mid-September, which promises amped-up European investment in building the sort of developing world infrastructure China has been happily, if haphazardly, meeting for almost a decade.

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