by Ralph Jennings at scmp.com
Despite misfires during previous infrastructure endeavours in Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia, China is now making substantial green energy investments in those regions – and finding eager takers.
Companies are making strides in power generation and crafting solar energy equipment with support from a range of host countries, including Egypt, Mauritius, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. In dollar terms, last year Chinese-backed projects grew at a singularly speedy clip.
In Africa, China’s work in “alternative” power reached a historic high in 2023 of about US$2.7 billion, said Christoph Nedopil Wang, director of the Australia-based Griffith Asia Institute.
Alternative energy work in the Middle East totalled US$9.48 billion from 2018 through 2023, data from the institute shows. That figure dwarfs the US$2.23 billion spent over the previous decade. Central Asia set its own record last year, with US$1.3 billion of investment from China.
Chinese investors can make money on green energy without alarming host countries with the cost, scale or pollution brought by the mega-projects from the early phases of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative, analysts said.