Latin America was not in China’s initial plan for BRI. But it now stands to benefit from BRI’s pivot towards more sustainable activity, and China’s evolving approach to developing technology and trade.
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China’s pandemic aid and ‘vaccine diplomacy’ in LatAm is boosting the prospects of the Health Silk Road, a plan to develop healthcare infrastructure and knowhow – including health tech – in Belt and Road countries.
The acquisition of businesses such as CGE and Chilquinta, both recently bought by State Grid Corporation of China, has highlighted the attractiveness of power distribution as an asset class for Chinese investors.
The region is witnessing a shift to renewables, which now account for about 25% of its energy. As a world leader in green energy, China is increasingly active in helping LatAm nations manage this transition.
China’s continuing appetite for minerals, hydrocarbons and agricultural exports from Latin America has encouraged investment in both primary sector businesses and related infrastructure, such as ports, railways and roads.
Many LatAm countries need new tech and comms infrastructure. The availability of Chinese options, often on relatively attractive terms, means the Digital Silk Road looks set to become even broader and busier.
China’s approach to cooperation with LatAm nations means that even those which have not agreed to join BRI are able to benefit from synergies between BRI and broader Chinese engagement.