The Biden administration is said to have considered launching a program of US investment in developing countries – tentatively titled “Building Back Better for the World” – in response to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) led by the United Kingdom. China, which aims to strengthen Beijing’s trade and economic activities. influence in the developing world.

Daleep Singh, the United States’ deputy national security adviser for the international economy, is expected to visit Colombia, Ecuador and Panama next week, to see possible investment plans for the plan. During his trip, he will visit the projects in question and discuss their needs with political and economic leaders, as well as with local activists.

Among others, Singh plans to meet with President Ivan Duque Marquez of Colombia, President Guillermo Lasso of Ecuador and Minister of Public Works Rafael Sabonge of Panama. He will also be joined by David Marchick, COO at the US International Development Finance Corporation.

The projects the White House has expressed interest in are not limited to Latin America; they include solar power plants in India, water treatment plants in El Salvador, pharmaceutical laboratories in South Africa, modern telecommunications infrastructure in Africa and women-owned businesses in Brazil, according to Al Jazeera.

The White House has attached a series of conditions to the projects it will finance. He lobbied for high labor and environmental standards – an area in which the BIS has had shortcomings – and insisted on full financial transparency, a step taken to ensure that U.S. funding is used for its intended purposes. He intends to spend the rest of the year gathering information and consulting with local leaders, before selecting flagship projects in early 2022.

The urgency of such a program has been underscored by the success of the BRI, which has grown from a series of disparate projects to a network of trade links and access to materials across the developing world. China has benefited greatly from the program and made it a central part of its foreign policy. Its success is one of the main drivers for the United States to pursue a competitive agenda.

Granted, there are plenty of opportunities for the White House to pursue infrastructure projects if it so chooses. In the developing world, infrastructure needs alone would cost $ 40 trillion through 2035, well beyond America’s or China’s ability to supply. As China’s experience shows, investing in infrastructure can be a great way to build international goodwill for the United States, something the Biden administration has pointed out in the past.

Trevor Filseth is a current affairs and foreign affairs writer for the National interest.

Image: Reuters