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The Big Chill

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken gives a speech on US Africa Policy at the Economic Community of West African States in Abuja, Nigeria, on November 19, 2021. Blinken is on a five day trip to Kenya, Nigeria, and Senegal. Andrew Harnik / POOL / AFP

Over the last few years, we’ve seen increasing hand-wringing in Western capitals about how the money China is spending in the Global South translates into direct political influence. This week research was published that quantifies the issue.

A new report by Foreign Policy Research Institute tracked how increased Chinese spending (both loans and foreign direct investment) in African countries aligns with those countries’ voting in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). The report finds a clear pattern: from 2001 to 2018, they found an 80% increase in alignment between African countries and China as expressed by UNGA voting.

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