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How a Small Group of Negotiators in Benin Got China to Play Ball

Chinese loan contracts to African countries are increasingly controversial, raising questions as to how African negotiators can get better deals. One of the world’s foremost experts on Africa-China negotiations, Folashade Soule, recently published a report highlighting how a group of negotiators in Benin bargained with Chinese bodies financing and building a new business center in the port city of Cotonou.

The report tracks the project from initial negotiations in the early 2000s to its operationalization. It shows how the initial draft of the contract was riddled with problems, and that the Beninese negotiators managed to negotiate a better contract by presenting a unified front.

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