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  • By The Financial District

China's $2.6-B Road Network For Papua New Guinea Has Zero Accomplishment

In 2017, Papua New Guinea’s government announced a long-awaited A$4.1-billion ($2.6-billion) upgrade of the nation’s potholed highway network that would be funded by development loans from China.


Photo Insert: Pacific Island nations should take heed from what happened to China’s promise of multi-billion-dollar investments in the Philippines. Not even 5% was invested for the entire six-year term of former president Rodrigo Duterte.



Five years on, the project, which was to be undertaken by the state-owned China Railway Group, has stalled, with none of the planned 1,600km of roads improved or replaced, Nic Filders reported for the Financial Times.


The project’s fortunes reflect a fall in Chinese development aid to the Pacific region over the past six years, a decline that contrasts with Beijing’s efforts to increase its influence in the area.



Alexandre Dayant, a project director with the Lowy Institute who charts aid across the Pacific region, said China’s spending over the past decade had not always lived up to its promises. It is more smoke than fire.


“China committed to massive infrastructure projects worth hundreds of millions of dollars. But there was a very big difference in what China committed to what it spent on the ground,” Dayant said.


All the news: Business man in suit and tie smiling and reading a newspaper near the financial district.

“There’s more smoke than fire.” Lowy’s research showed that Chinese development aid spent in the Pacific region — made up of grants and concessional loans to fund construction, infrastructure and other projects — fell to $188 million in 2020 from a peak of $334 million in 2016.


China’s attempt to cut a security deal with Pacific Island nations was dashed to smithereens this year, with the would-be partners objecting to the language of the treaty that Being largely wrote and giving China’s foreign minister Wang Yi a big black eye.


Government & politics: Politicians, government officials and delegates standing in front of their country flags in a political event in the financial district.

Dayant said the Lowy data suggested Chinese aid had continued to fall in 2021 and argued that there was “less appetite” in the country than before to fund overseas development.


The 2020 total was the lowest annual figure recorded for China since Lowy started tracking aid in the region in 2008. China does not publish its own data on aid. China’s foreign ministry declined to comment on the data showing decreasing aid spending in the region.


Market & economy: Market economist in suit and tie reading reports and analysing charts in the office located in the financial district.

A ministry spokesperson said the country was “continuously dedicated” to providing assistance to Pacific Island nations to enhance their “self-driven development” and to jointly build a closer “China-Pacific community.”


Pacific Island nations should take heed from what happened to China’s promise of multi-billion-dollar investments in the Philippines. Not even 5% was invested for the entire six-year term of former president Rodrigo Duterte.



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