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Lending Data Offers Clue to China’s Global South Influence

MARK RALSTON / AFP

A new report led by the U.S.-based research center AidData is drawing global attention this week. It shows that from 2008 to 2021, China spent $240 billion in bailouts and liquidity support to 22 Global South countries.

Even though the report focuses squarely on economics, it also feels like a key piece of a geopolitical puzzle: how China’s Global South relationships work. As I’m writing this, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris is in Africa, one of several high-profile visits aimed at boosting Africa-U.S. ties. Although U.S. officials have largely stopped mentioning it, China looms large over these efforts.

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