Report: Chinese building projects narrowing economic gaps

BEIJING (AP) — Researchers say a wave of Chinese-financed railways and other trade links in Africa and Asia that have prompted worries about debt and Beijing’s ambitions is reducing politically dangerous inequality between regions within countries.

The study led by AidData at the College of William & Mary in Virginia strikes a positive note at a time when governments from Washington to Moscow to New Delhi are uneasy about Beijing’s “Belt and Road” initiative.

The study of 3,485 projects in 138 nations across Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East in 2000-14 found they led to a more equal distribution of economic activity by improving access to jobs and markets.

The report stressed it focused on only one aspect of Chinese financing. It said the overall impact is “a more complex question.”

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