SCHLOSS ELMAU, Germany — Leaders of the Group of Seven on Sunday pledged to raise $600 billion in private and public funds over five years to fund needed infrastructure in developing countries and China’s multi-trillion-dollar legacy counteract the “Belt and Road” project.
US President Joe Biden and other G7 leaders relaunched the newly renamed “Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investments” at their annual meeting, taking place this year at Schloss Elmau in southern Germany.
Biden said the United States would mobilize $200 billion in grants, federal funds and private investment over five years to support projects in low- and middle-income countries that help fight climate change and improve global health , gender equality and digital infrastructure.
“I want to clarify. This is not an aid or charity. It’s an investment that benefits everyone,” Biden said, adding that it would allow countries “to see the tangible benefits of partnering with democracies.”
Biden said hundreds of billions of additional dollars could come from multilateral development banks, development finance institutions, sovereign wealth funds and others.
Europe will mobilize €300 billion for the initiative over the same period to build a sustainable alternative to China’s Belt and Road Initiative launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, the assembly.
The leaders of Italy, Canada and Japan also spoke about their plans, some of which have already been announced separately. French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson were not present, but their countries are also taking part.
China’s investment plan includes development and programs in over 100 countries aimed at creating a modern version of the ancient Silk Road trade route from Asia to Europe.
White House officials said the plan has brought little tangible benefit to many developing countries.
Biden highlighted several flagship projects, including a $2 billion solar development project in Angola with support from the Department of Commerce, the US Export-Import Bank, US firm AfricaGlobal Schaffer and US project developer Sun Africa.
Washington, along with G7 members and the EU, will also provide $3.3 million in technical assistance to Senegal’s Institut Pasteur de Dakar to develop a flexible, industrial-scale production facility for multiple vaccines in that country that will eventually COVID-19 and other vaccines, a project the EU is also involved in.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will also commit up to $50 million over five years to the World Bank’s global Childcare Incentive Fund.
Friederike Roder, vice president of non-profit group Global Citizen, said the investment pledges could be “a good start” for greater engagement by G7 countries in developing countries and underpin stronger global growth for all.
The G7 countries on average allocate just 0.32 percent of their gross national income to aid, less than half of the 0.7 percent promised, she said.
“But without developing countries, there will be no sustainable recovery in the global economy,” she said.