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China Increases Middle East Investment as U.S. Backs Out of Region

China dropped Belt and Road Initiative investments by $1 billion in 2021
Chinese President Xi Jinping attends an event commemorating the 110th anniversary of the Xinhai Revolution at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing Oct. 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

A new report found that China has stepped up investment in the Middle East, using energy and construction contracts to increase its influence in the region. 

The report released Wednesday by the Green Finance & Development Center at Shanghai’s Fudan University looked at China’s investment in its long-running Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which aims to recreate the Silk Road for the modern age. 

Overall 2021 BRI investment dropped from $60.5 billion to $59.5 billion as China follows through with a plan to drop overall foreign investment to $550 billion between 2021 and 2025 – down 25% from $740 billion between 2016 and 2020 – but investment increased in Africa and the Middle East. Iraq in particular benefited from around $10.5 billion in construction contracts, the report found. 

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