WASHINGTON, Nov. 8 (Reuters) – The United States plans to invest in five to 10 major infrastructure projects around the world in January as part of a broader Group of Seven program to counter China’s Belt and Road initiative a senior US official said Monday. .
A US delegation led by President Joe Biden’s deputy national security adviser Daleep Singh identified at least 10 promising projects in Senegal and Ghana last week during a series of “listening tours,” the official said.
Officials meet with government and private sector leaders as they hunt for projects to be funded under the Build Back Better World (B3W) initiative launched by the wealthy G7 democracies in June. Plans could be finalized at a G7 meeting in December, the official said.
A US delegation visited Ecuador, Panama and Colombia on a similar tour in early October, and another delegation was due to visit Asia before the end of the year, the official said, without naming specific Asian countries.
The G7 B3W initiative aims to partially meet the $40 trillion in infrastructure investment developing countries will need by 2035 and provide an alternative to China’s problematic lending practices, officials said.
The United States will offer developing countries “the full range” of U.S. financial instruments, including equity stakes, loan guarantees, political insurance, grants and technical expertise to focus on climate, health, digital technology and gender equality, the official told reporters.
The effort is aimed at “identifying flagship projects that could launch early next year,” the official said.
Singh was joined in Africa by Alexia Latortue, deputy chief executive officer of the Millennium Challenge Corp, and Travis Adkins, deputy assistant administrator for Africa at the US International Development Finance Corp, said Emily Horne, spokesman for the White House National Security Council. .
Biden sought to advance the initiative at a meeting on the sidelines of the COP26 UN climate conference with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and other G7 partners, she added.
The government official said senior officials in Senegal and Ghana welcomed U.S. assurances that the United States, unlike China, the world’s largest creditor, would not demand nondisclosure agreements or side agreements that could lead to later seizure of ports or airports.
Projects discussed included setting up a potential vaccine manufacturing center for West Africa in Senegal, strengthening renewable energy supplies, boosting lending to women-owned companies and narrowing the digital divide. .
Asked about the project during a routine press briefing on Tuesday, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said there was “enormous room” for infrastructure cooperation.
“Different initiatives do not compensate or replace each other,” Wang told reporters.
“The world needs efforts to build bridges… we need to promote connectivity, not disconnect.”
Reporting by Andrea Shalal; additional reporting by Josh Horwitz in Beijing; Editing by Cynthia Osterman, Peter Cooney and Raju Gopalakrishnan
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