The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a historic marshalling of capital and a remarkable geopolitical foray into establishing and strengthening multinational trade corridors. It continues to evolve and expand with more than 130 countries now reported to have signed BRI agreements, including in Central America and the Pacific, far beyond the traditional Silk Road routes.

With over US $440 billion of funding provided so far by Chinese financial institutions into BRI projects, it's an enterprise unlike anything seen on this scale for decades. It holds tremendous opportunities for business. Yet, seizing these opportunities requires a strong understanding of the economic, cultural and regulatory conditions of regional markets.

With 29 offices along the Belt and Road — more than any other law firm — and the award-winning Baker McKenzie FenXun Platform in China, we can help local companies and multinationals make the right connections and unlock the world’s most ambitious global development initiatives.

What's next for BRI?

Now in its 6th year, the BRI initiative is constantly evolving. Looking ahead to the next ten years, the 2020s could be a golden era for emerging market infrastructure investment. That is if leading economies can find ways to overcome geopolitical concerns to invest multilaterally, and if private global capital can align with China's BRI initiative in an ongoing and sustainable way.

Working in partnership with Silk Road Associates, we have analyzed the possible directions of development for BRI investments in the coming decade. The resulting BRI and Beyond Forecast outlines five distinct scenarios of possible development.

Yet, the difference between the forecasts is stark. The most optimistic forecast is the 'Global Cooperation Model,' with estimates BRI-related investments of US $1.32 trillion. The most pessimistic forecast is the 'Uni-Polar Model', which anticipates potential BRI-related investments of only US $560 billion. This is due to the projected impact of a significant recession, of increasing nationalism and of aggressive competition from other nations.

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New routes and strategic partnerships for BRI beyond 2020

Get a sneak peek at the early analysis of new BRI trade routes, investment and lending. Find out more about strategic partnerships along the BRI, from project finance and private equity to JVs and M&As. These key findings are released ahead of a new report, researched by the Economist Corporate Network and commissioned by Baker McKenzie.

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