Saudi Arabia was the top destination for energy engagement among Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) countries in 2022 at $5.4 billion, the Shanghai-based Green Finance & Development Centre (GFDC) said in its latest BRI Investment Report 2022.

With strong engagement in the Kingdom, including cooperation on solar projects, such as a $210 million project with Jinko Solar, Saudi Arabia moved from 6th place in cumulative BRI energy engagement in 2021 to third place in 2022, the report noted.

However, Chinese BRI engagement was not evenly distributed among all regions.

Middle Eastern countries expanded their cooperation with China and received about 23 percent of BRI engagement in 2022, up from 16.5 percent and about 21 percent of investment volume – twice the share of 2021.

BRI countries in East Asia saw a 151 percent increase in Chinese investments and a 76 percent increase in construction contracts and became the dominant recipient (34 percent of the total) for Chinese engagement.

However, Sub-Saharan Africa saw the highest drop in China’s engagement in construction (-44 percent) and investment (-65 percent) compared to 2021.

The country with the highest construction volume in 2022 was the Philippines, with about $3.3 billion, followed by Argentina ($3.3 billion) and Indonesia ($2.5 billion).

Hungary was the single largest recipient, with about $7.6 billion in investments, followed by Saudi Arabia ($5.6 billion) and Singapore (about $2.5 billion), the report said.

(Writing by P Deol; Editing by Anoop Menon)