Follow CGSP on Social Media

Listen to the CGSP Podcast

Nigeria’s Conversation About Chinese Debt

The first thing to say about the ongoing controversy about Chinese loans purportedly compromising Nigerian sovereignty is that it’s based on a misreading of standard language found in loan contracts. Rather than stating that, in the case of a default, China will have the right to seize Nigerian assets, it simply means that China will have the right to sue Nigeria for damages – a standard clause in these loan agreements.

This is very much not how it’s being discussed in Nigeria, where commentators have now moved beyond fears of asset seizures to predicting that Nigeria’s (relatively modest amount of) Chinese debt will bring down its economy.

  • Get a daily email packed with the latest China-Africa news and analysis.
  • Read exclusive insights on the key trends shaping China-Africa relations.
  • Full access to the News Feed that provides daily updates on Chinese engagement in Africa and throughout the Global South.

China, Africa and the Global South... find out what’s happening.

Subscribe today for unlimited access.

What is The China-Global South Project?


The China-Global South Project is passionately independent, non-partisan and does not advocate for any country, company or culture.


A carefully curated selection of the day’s most important China-Global South stories. Updated 24 hours a day by human editors. No bots, no algorithms.


Diverse, often unconventional insights from scholars, analysts, journalists and a variety of stakeholders in the China-Global South discourse.


A unique professional network of China-Africa scholars, analysts, journalists and other practioners from around the world.