Is America Losing the Global South? Assessing the Dynamics of Sino-American Rivalry in Infrastructure Diplomacy, Orbis (August 2023)

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This study compares China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and US infrastructure diplomacy, in the context of their influence over the Global South. Historically, both superpowers have viewed the Global South as a critical sphere of influence, a trend that remains evident in the twenty-first century. With China’s rise as a global power, its extensive infrastructure projects and financial support across the Global South have prompted the United States to reassess its policies in the region. However, US influence appears to be waning, marked by a shift in the political landscape within multilateral institutions and decreased support from countries in the Global South. This article explores potential strategies for the United States to regain and retain influence, which include promoting high standards, consistent engagement, and cooperation where possible. Moreover, it discusses the need for policy beyond infrastructure diplomacy, suggesting a focus on human capital and education as potential avenues for strategic partnerships.