China had invested more than US$50 billion in belt and road countries since President Xi Jinping introduced the ­initiative in 2013, Xinhua has said.

“Most projects are financed by Chinese financial institutions, while participation of international institutions is relatively ­limited,” Pan Guangwei, vice-chairman of the China Banking Association, said.

“Policy banks are making progress in doling out loans, but commercial banks are less active.”

Many infrastructure projects were long-term and required large amounts of investment, so a system of “policy banks, commercial lenders and international ­development institutions” was needed to ensure their financial sustainability, Pan said.

However, analysts said it would be challenging to convince global lenders to get involved in the belt and road scheme while the commercial soundness of many its projects was still in doubt.

“I’m not optimistic about ­other parties’ active participation,” Hong Hao, chief strategist at Bocom International, said.

“When they believe the initiative is mainly aimed at building up China’s sway, instead of providing profitable projects, few will be ­interested.”