Maldives Exploring Options to Halt China’s BRI Project
Maldives President Ibu Solih is exploring options of putting on hold Chinese funded Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) projects that have caused India major concerns about Beijing’s increasing influence in the Indian Ocean neighbourhood. DANFES has learnt that Solih might follow the example of Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohammad, who has put on hold mega BRI projects in his country after returning to power earlier this year. There is talk that the new Maldivian President might even cancel some BRI projects that were encouraged by his predecessor and outgoing leader Abdullah Yameen. Yameen allegedly received $1.5 million as poll financing, with his critics accusing him of obtaining the funds from Beijing.
Solih’s challenge will, however, be the repayment of Chinese loans extended for the projects in the island-nation. The Maldives is facing liabilities of $1.4 billion, accounting for about a third of the country’s gross domestic product, due to Yameen’s policies.