Even before the current economic crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic there were widespread concerns about Chinese lending practices in Africa. The U.S. and other critics contend that Beijing is employing a predatory lending strategy where it intentionally loads up poor countries with unsustainable amounts of debt. When they invariably can’t repay those loans, China swoops in to seize assets.
While this so-called “debt trap” theory remains very popular, there’s simply no evidence to support the assertion according to scholars who’ve looked into thousands of Chinese loan deals around the world.
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