China has injected £685 billion ($913 billion) into 42 Commonwealth countries since 2005, figures compiled by the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington DC-based think tank, have revealed.
The figures showed that over the past sixteen years, China has pumped nearly £500 million ($667 million) into roads, homes, sewers, and a hotel in Barbados, a Commonwealth member set to become the world’s newest republic next week.
In neighboring Jamaica, Beijing has invested about £2.6 billion ($3.4 billion) versus a gross domestic product of £16.4 billion ($21.8 billion), making the Caribbean island nation the biggest recipient of Chinese money in the region.
The report comes as UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss announced plans on Wednesday to replace the Commonwealth Development Corporation with British International Investment.
She voiced hope that the new body would provide up to £8 billion in investments per year in Commonwealth countries by 2025, up from the current £1.5 billion ($2 billion), by encouraging the private sector and western allies to put money into member states.
With many welcoming the plans, critics say they wonder why it has taken so long for London to initiate the move on British International Investment.
Baroness Helena Kennedy, a prominent human rights barrister, for her part, asserted that what China is doing is a way of making friends and it impacts on votes in the UN.
The money they are investing does start to penetrate our areas of influence. One wants to strengthen the Commonwealth, not find it undermined”, she underscored.
Sputnik / ABC Flash Point News 2021.