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China’s Belt & Road Checks May Get Smaller, But Indonesia Can Still Get Plenty

Chinese President Xi Jinping with Indonesian President Joko Widodo and other leaders at the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing on October 18. 2023. Image via Xinhua.

After complaints surrounding debt and environmental woes, China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is finally changing. At the Belt and Road Forum this week, China announced that the BRI will now be “Small but Smart”, aiming to fund smaller-sized projects that are greener. 

It may take some adjusting for Indonesia, one of the BRI’s largest beneficiaries, which still has a number of mega ambitions to fulfill that include a new capital city, a new fast train route, and an end-to-end electric vehicle industry. But Indonesia could still get plenty of those smaller checks, analysts say. In the absence of other options, Indonesia could grab this opportunity to accelerate energy transition while improving governance according to BRI’s own pledges. 

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