Clint Davis is managing director of Acasta Capital Indigenous (ACI), an Indigenous-owned subsidiary of Acasta Capital. Jessica Shadian is director of Arctic 360, a partnership with the Bill Graham Centre for Contemporary International History, Trinity College and the Munk School of Global Affairs. Mead Treadwell is a former Lieutenant Governor of Alaska and president of Pt. Capital.
Last summer, the icebreaker Xue Long (Snow Dragon) became China’s first vessel to transit the Northwest Passage, travelling from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic through the Arctic Ocean archipelago.
Then, in January, China officially included the Arctic region in its massive Belt and Road Initiative, making Northern Canada, Alaska and Greenland eligible for Chinese investment in railways, roads, pipelines and utility grids.
China understands the Arctic will be part of a new global trade infrastructure system. Does North America? According to the U.S. investment firm Guggenheim Partners, the Arctic will require close to US$1-trillion of infrastructure investment over the next decade, including transportation, telecommunications and social services to support a new era of economic opportunity from energy, fishing and mining, to defence and tourism.
With fewer than one million residents, the North American Arctic has no choice but to seek outside capital for its enormous strategic and economic opportunities.
We recently convened an international forum at the University of Toronto to help North American players come to grips with what’s at stake in their far north. Here’s what was suggested.