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One Belt, One Road's Governance Deficit Problem

How China Can Ensure Transparency and Accountability

A general view of "Colombo Port City" construction site is seen in Colombo, Sri Lanka, March 2017.  Dinuka Liyanawatte / REUTERS

China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative represents by far the country’s most ambitious global project, connecting China, the world’s second-largest economy, with Africa, Central and Southeast Asia, Europe, and the Middle East through transportation and trade infrastructure. OBOR’s two main components, the Silk Road Economic Belt and the Maritime Silk Road, comprise a multi-trillion-dollar plan spanning 68 countries, which together account for 60 percent of the world’s population and up to 40 percent of global GDP.

Such a large-scale plan comes with tremendous risks, of course. The majority of the OBOR route nations have the potential to default or fall victim to other forms of political instability. But although China obviously has to pay attention to these risk factors, it also needs to solve a governance deficit problem plaguing the project both within China and along the OBOR route in order to fulfill the mission of advancing

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