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Zambia’s Debt Demand Shows Limits of China’s Checkbook Diplomacy

Zambia’s request for blanket debt-service suspension from creditors edges the country closer to default and highlights the limitations of China’s debt diplomacy. The government has decided to ask all external creditors to agree to debt service suspension on the same terms, ...

G20 Finance Ministers Expected to Approve Multi-Billion Dollar Debt Freeze Extension For the World’s Poorest Countries

Finance ministers and central bankers from China, the United States, and other G20 countries are expected to release a communiqué on Wednesday, according to Reuters, which will extend the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) beyond the end of this year. It's not clear, though, ...

The World Bank Has a Cool New Interactive Tool Showing How Much DSSI-Eligible Countries Pay to Service Their Debts

The World Bank released a new interactive database that details how much each of the DSSI-eligible countries will pay in 2020 and 2021 to service their bilateral debts. As the world's preeminent bilateral creditor, it's not surprising that the largest boxes on the graph represent China's outsized ...

With or Without Debt Relief, Most Chinese Contractors in Africa Still Benefit

China has come under intense criticism from stakeholders in Africa, the U.S. and Europe for its refusal to enact an across-the-board debt relief plan for African borrowers. Instead, Beijing has opted to negotiate bilaterally and reach debt settlement agreements separately. Marketwatch ...

How China Uses “Soft Law” To Engage Countries in Its Belt and Road Initiative

Since a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) or a so-called "cooperation agreement" is not legally binding, many U.S. and European stakeholders often shrug when China announces that it's signed one of these agreements with countries along its Belt and Road Initiative. That's ...

Analysis from Cobus van Staden

India Could Ban Cheap Chinese Phones

The Indian government could push Chinese mobile phone manufacturers out of the lower end of its market, according to a new report by Bloomberg. The possible ban is reportedly aimed at boosting India’s failing domestic phone makers in the lucrative sub-12,000 rupee ($150) sector. 

The move will be a blow to Chinese companies like Xiaomi, RealMe, and Transsion, who make up 80% of sales in the sub-$150 sector. Low-end smartphones occupy a third ...

The Head of One of China’s Major Foreign Policy Think Tanks Proposes 4 Ways to Revive Slumping China-Africa Trade

Two-way China-Africa trade dropped by almost 20% to just $82 billion in the first half of the year due to lockdowns brought on by the COVID-19 outbreak. With China's economy recovering well, it's possible that some of those losses will be made up in Q3 ...

In One of His First Public Appearances as China’s New Ambassador to South Africa, Chen Xiaodong Reaffirms Beijing’s Commitment to African Infrastructure Development

China's newly-arrived envoy to South Africa, Chen Xiaodong, made one of his first public appearances on Tuesday in a webinar organized by the South African Institute of International Affairs. Speaking from the embassy in Pretoria, Ambassador Chen spoke for about thirty minutes at the beginning of the ...

Who Exactly is the Chinese Embassy in Liberia Trying to Reach by Publishing a Tweet in Chinese With a WeChat Link?

China's ambassador to Liberia, Ren Yisheng, made a pro forma visit this week to meet the new foreign minister, Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah and, as is now customary, the embassy published a Tweet about the meeting. But what's unusual is ...