The lion’s share of the “Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)” investment in infrastructure from the Chinese investors has gone to the energy and transportation sectors, and only a very small share to the information and communication technologies (ICT) sector. However, the ICT sector has attracted growing investment not only from the public sector but also from the private enterprises in China, and stronger interests from the stakeholders in the BRI-related countries. The existing Chinese literature shows that the current investment in ICTs as well as digital connectivity and digital economy has had some positive influence on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in those recipient countries. It has helped to facilitate economic growth of the least developed countries and rural areas of middle-income countries, to promote development of small and medium-sized enterprises, to encourage digital transformation of traditional industries and green growth, to narrow down the digital gap, and to enhance digital inclusion.
K4D helpdesk reports provide summaries of current research, evidence and lessons learned. This report was commissioned by the UK Department for International Development.
Gong, S., Gu, J. and Teng, F. (2019). The impact of the Belt and Road Initiative investment in digital connectivity and information and communication technologies on achieving the SDGs. K4D Emerging Issues Report. Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies.