Brazil, Angola and Portugal are, in that order, the Portuguese-speaking countries ranked highest in the Chinese index for worldwide infrastructure construction, according to a report released today in Macau.
Overall, all eight Portuguese-speaking countries moved up in the 2022 'ranking' of the "One Belt, One Road" Infrastructure Development Index, the initiative announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013 and involving 71 countries in Beijing's international strategic plan to develop maritime, road and rail links, but also investment in energy resources.
In the ranking led by Indonesia, Philippines and Malaysia, Brazil (12th) is the best placed Portuguese-speaking country. It is followed, among the Portuguese-speaking countries, by Angola (22nd), Portugal (28th), Cape Verde (53rd), Mozambique (54th), East Timor (63rd), São Tomé and Príncipe (69th) and Guinea-Bissau (70th).
The index assesses the environment, demand, receptivity and costs for infrastructure development in these 71 countries. The higher the score, the better the outlook for a country's infrastructure industry, and the more attractive it is for companies to engage in investment, construction, and operations in those territories.
From the perspective of the Chinese report, Portugal is, among the Portuguese-speaking countries, the one that appears with the best score in the sub-index of development associated with the environment, which aggregates political, economic, sovereignty, market impact factors, as well as business and industrial scenarios.
Portugal is also better placed among Portuguese-speaking countries in the sub-index related to costs, both operational and financing.
Angola stands out the most in the demand sub-index, which combines factors such as demand and potential market.
Brazil, on the other hand, leads among the Lusophone countries in the sub-index dedicated to local receptiveness and short-term enthusiasm for infrastructure investment, calculated, for example, on the basis of the value of new contracts.
In global terms, in the report quoted by Lusa, it is noted that there is a "slight recovery" in the index, "thanks to the greater demand and enthusiasm/receptivity for infrastructure construction in the 71 countries.
Still, "the swings in great power relationships, setbacks in global economic recovery, and the slow exit from the covid-19 pandemic since the beginning of the year have cast a cloud over the future of infrastructure," he pointed out.
"One strategy for international infrastructure stakeholders is to seize the opportunities brought by the new round of technological revolution and energy transition, adapt to the 'new normal' of epidemic prevention and control, and pursue high-level, sustainable, people-centered progress," the report concludes.
The report also notes that the "One Belt, One Road" initiative is facing "challenges such as scarcity of funds, rising costs, security risks, and environmental degradation" and that "in the short term, the side effects of the Russia-Ukraine conflict and recurring outbreaks of covid-19 will disrupt international infrastructure cooperation and slow recovery and development."
The paper's authors warned that the "rising prices of key commodities, intermediate goods, and international shipping will further increase the costs of building infrastructure" and that "the global environment for infrastructure financing may continue to deteriorate as the economic policies of some developed countries make life more difficult for the developing world."
And, "in the long run, major power games, climate change, and global economic imbalance will add uncertainty to regional and international infrastructure development."
Against this backdrop, "for the infrastructure associated with 'One Belt, One Road', high-quality development remains a distant future," the report warns.
The document was presented at the International Forum on Infrastructure Investment and Construction. At the opening of the event, the deputy to China's Minister of Commerce, Li Fei, reported that the country has invested this year overseas $178.8 billion (187.01 billion euros).