China debt dogs Maldives’ ‘bridge to prosperity’

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Discussion posted by: Arye ben-Shaoul

Chinese infrastructure projects in developing countries have been criticised, but the Sinamale bridge – or the China-Maldives Friendship Bridge as it’s also known – could be seen as a real success. However the current Maldives government doesn’t see it that way. It is alarmed by how much money this tiny, tourism-dependent nation now owes China. The bridge was one of several major projects built under Abdullah Yameen, a pro-China president elected in 2013. He wanted to kickstart the economy and borrowed hundreds of millions of dollars from China to do so. At the time Chinese President Xi Jinping was embarking on his grand “Belt and Road Initiative” to build road, rail and sea links between China and the rest of Asia, and far further beyond.