Listen to our podcasts on radicalization in the Caribbean.
Trinidad and Tobago is a twin island republic known as the birthplace of steelpan and calypso. The oil-rich nation of Trinidad and Tobago the western world’s highest per capita supplier of ISIS recruits. What would cause so many to leave this tropical paradise for a war zone?
China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative was first raised by President Xi Jinping in the last quarter of 2013. Six years later, China had signed 173 cooperation agreements with 125 countries and 29 international organizations.
In general, there are two types of funding offered by China. The first is in the form of Chinese government grants. Recipient countries do not foot the bill of these projects.
The second frequently tends to come in the form of Chinese-set market-rate loans from Chinese banks. In particular, the China Export-Import Bank (China EXIM) and the China Development Bank (CDB) – two Chinese state-owned banks, have pledged, disbursed or partially disbursed a large proportion of Chinese loans to Caribbean projects and countries.
The banks administer foreign aid loans using subsidies from the foreign aid budget to soften the loan terms. These loans usually have fixed interest rates of 2-3%, maturity of 15-20 years with grace periods, and 2 payments per year. The majority of past and on-going projects in the Caribbean are funded by concessional loans from the China Export & Import Bank.
These loans are often framed as resource-secured loans.