The European Union (EU) is launching a new initiative to fund infrastructure projects in the Global South, in a bid to counter China’s growing influence in the region.
The “Global Gateway” initiative will provide up to €300 billion ($340 billion) in funding for projects in areas such as transportation, energy, and digital infrastructure. The EU says the goal is to create “sustainable and inclusive” growth in the Global South, and to strengthen its ties with the region.
The Global Gateway initiative is widely seen as a challenge to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which has been criticized for its lack of transparency and its focus on debt-trap diplomacy. The BRI has seen China invest heavily in infrastructure projects around the world, often with the aim of securing access to natural resources or strategic markets.
The EU has said that its Global Gateway initiative will be different from the BRI in a number of ways. First, it will focus on partnering with developing countries on an equal footing, rather than imposing projects on them. Second, it will be more transparent, with all projects subject to rigorous environmental and social impact assessments. Third, it will be more sustainable, with a focus on projects that will help developing countries reduce their carbon footprint and adapt to climate change.
The Global Gateway initiative has been welcomed by many developing countries, who see it as an opportunity to access much-needed funding for infrastructure projects without having to fall into debt traps. However, some critics have argued that the initiative is simply a way for the EU to promote its own interests in the Global South.
It remains to be seen whether the Global Gateway initiative will be successful in challenging China’s influence in the Global South. However, it is clear that the EU is serious about countering China’s Belt and Road Initiative, and that the Global Gateway initiative will be a major part of its strategy.