Expert Voices

China's Belt and Road Initiative strays from course

Sri Lankan road construction workers construction labourers works along a road in Colombo on August 5, 2018.
Road construction workers in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on August 5, 2018. Sri Lanka is a key link in Beijing's ambitious Belt and Road Initiative. Photo: Lakruwan wanniarachchi/AFP via Getty Images

Five years after it was announced, China’s massive Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) —which could include upward of $1 trillion in new infrastructure — has yet to materialize on the ground as promised.

The details: According to Chinese President Xi Jinping and other senior officials, the BRI includes six economic corridors that that will carry goods, people and data across Asia and beyond. But a new study shows that Chinese investment is just as likely to go outside those corridors as within them. The BRI appears to be less coordinated than Beijing hopes and some critics fear.

Pakistan's government bows to far-right pressure in forcing out adviser

Prime Minister Imran Khan. Photo: Muhhamad Reza/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Islamabad — Pakistan's government has asked a leading academic to step down as an economic adviser, the ruling PTI party announced Friday, after far-right groups objected to his appointment based on his faith.

Why it matters: Atif Mian, a renowned professor of economics at Princeton University who belongs to the Ahmadiyya sect of Islam, had been appointed to the Economic Advisory Council (EAC) last week and has now agreed to resign. Pakistan is home to roughly half a million Ahmadis, a long-persecuted minority who are not allowed by Pakistani law to refer to themselves as Muslims, facing prison sentences for doing so. They are also frequently the targets of mob violence as well as targeted killings.