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Are African Governments Naive to Take on so Much Chinese Infrastructure Debt?

China, according to the prevailing "debt trap" narrative, is preying on vulnerable developing countries by loading them up with unsustainable amounts of debt that jeopardizes their sovereignty. When these countries inevitably default on the loans, according to the theory, China ...

Kenya Looks Beyond China for New Sources of Development Finance

Since the new year, Kenya has taken some rather bold steps to reduce its borrowing costs and ensure that new loans are "fairly priced." The Treasury is seeking to refinance large portions of its current debt that's priced at commercial rates into more affordable concessionary loans. Separately, ...

Debunking the China-Africa “Debt Trap” Meme

Swedish scholar Johanna Malm is one of the world's leading researchers on China-DR  Congo relations and now joins the growing number of experts who refute the still widely-held China "debt trap" narrative. In a recent interview published by the government-run Swedish Institute, Dr. Malm explained that there's ...

How China Finances All That Infrastructure Construction in Africa is Starting to Change. Here’s How.

For several years now, as debt levels in a number of African countries have risen to alarming heights, Chinese and African officials have reportedly been looking for new ways to evolve the traditional resource-for-infrastructure (RFI) deals that critics on both sides of this relationship contend saddles African ...

How the Chinese-Financed Standard Gauge Railways in East Africa Marks a New Era of Government-led Infrastructure Development

The founding Dean of Strathmore Law School in Nairobi and a visiting scholar at Oxford University, Luis Franceschi, wrote a pair of compelling columns last month in the Daily Nation newspaper that serve as a kind of master class on the enormous legal and economic implications associated ...

Deborah Brautigam Debunks the Chinese Debt Trap Theory in New Research Paper 

Professor Deborah Brautigam, Director of the China-Africa Research Initiative at Johns Hopkins University, published a new paper this month that explores the Chinese debt trap theory that is widely propagated by U.S. government officials and a common theme in international media coverage of Chinese engagement in Africa. ...

Are IMF Loans Being Used to Counter China in Africa?

The growing influence of China in world politics has not gone unnoticed in Washington. In 2018, while presenting the U.S. national defense strategy, which set priorities for the Pentagon, then U.S. Defence Secretary Jim Mattis declared in very clear terms that the United States was entering ...

As African Leaders Say Don’t Worry, IMF Issues New Warning on Rising Debt Levels Across the Continent

There are conflicting messages emerging about the potential risks associated with Africa's steadily rising debt levels. Yesterday, the IMF issued a new warning that the amount of debt that African governments now owe has doubled over the past years as borrowing from capital markets and bilateral lenders, ...

Letter to the Editor: Those “Sino-Africa Swap Deals are Happening”

After I published the story yesterday on the evolution of China's Resource-for-Infrastructure deals in Africa and the emergence of new financing models, known as "Sino-Africa Swap" deals, I wanted to get some additional perspective to find out if this is something that's actually happening or if ...

China’s Resources-for-Infrastructure Financing Mechanism is Evolving Into the “Sino-Africa Swap”

Decades before China embarked on countless Resource-for-Infrastructure deals in Africa, Japan pioneered the model in China as far back as the 1970s. The rapidly industrializing Japanese economy needed oil Chinese oil, minerals and other raw materials and China, one of the poorest countries at the time and ...
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