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10 Issues That Will Shape China-Africa Relations in 2021

1. VACCINES: With the U.S., EU on the Sidelines, China’s Vaccine Distribution in Africa Could Produce Huge Geopolitical Dividends

China is building a COVID-19 vaccine distribution pipeline in Africa including a cold-chain air bridge from Shenzhen, a distribution hub in Addis Ababa, and manufacturing capabilities in Cairo. With wealthy countries hoarding vaccines, China’s supply could have a disproportionate health impact in Africa and produce significant geopolitical dividends for Beijing given that both Washington and Brussels are, so far, not engaged on this issue.

2. LOANS: China Will Continue to Curtail Lending to Africa in Response to Pressure For Improved Risk Management in Beijing

The steady decline in official lending to African countries by China’s two main policy banks, the China Development Bank and the China Exim Bank, will continue in 2021. This doesn’t mean that all lending will cease, just that it will be more selective, require far more due diligence, and may come from alternate sources like Chinese state-owned enterprises and commercial banks. The days when African governments enjoyed relatively easy access to Chinese infrastructure financing are over.

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