African Countries are Loading Up On Dangerous Amounts of Chinese Debt, but What Other Choice Do They Have?
BY COBUS VAN STADEN
Senior China-Africa Researcher at the South African Institute of International Affairs
One of the questions that the Western media accounts of “debtbook diplomacy” do not ask is what is the price for poor countries of not taking loans? Many poor countries have limited funding options, and the alternative is systemic underdevelopment, which carries its own dangers – increasing youth radicalization and a continued flood of economic migrants to places like Europe. The issue of debt can’t only be seen in terms of a Western power calculus – we also have to see it from the perspective of Africa’s future.
[QUARTZ] There is a part of the Chinese story in Africa that is rarely documented. That of the ordinary businesses who head to Africa, often without state backing, seeking to make a fortune. These businesses have mostly been careful to remain outside the spotlight and rarely ever speak to local media. No one can say for sure—not even the Chinese government—how many Chinese businesses are in Africa, never mind what they are doing there.
China's Surveillance Tech Companies Look to Expand in Africa Amid Growing U.S. & European Pressure
[CGTN AFRICA] China's largest surveillance technology companies are increasingly looking to Africa to open new international markets amid tighter pressure from U.S. and European authorities who are increasingly concerned about their relationship with the Chinese government. Hangzhou-based Hikvision recently opened a new sales and R&D office in Johannesburg that aims to serve clients across Africa.
[NIKKEI ASIAN REVIEW] The Chinese government sees special significance in a Beijing summit with African leaders set for September alongside the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. If China can bring the last holdout, Swaziland -- recently renamed eSwatini -- into its corner, it will go into the meeting having diplomatically conquered the continent.
Analyst: U.S.-China Trade War Could Bring Opportunities for South Africa
[FIN24] While escalating trade tension between the United States and China is bound to negatively impact emerging markets globally, there are also "significant" long-term opportunities in emerging markets like South Africa once the political tide turns again according to Old Mutual joint fund manager for global emerging markets, Siboniso Nxumalo.
[TIMES LIVE] The Chinese government will foot the bill for a group of 51 South Africans to return home‚ after they unwittingly became embroiled in a probe into their visas. The group had been kept in China pending a court case against a Chinese agent who allegedly lured them to the foreign country with a promise of lucrative teaching jobs. He‚ however‚ allegedly did not disclose to the group the type of qualifications they needed.
The United States accuses China of engaging in so-called "Debtbook Diplomacy" where it aims to entrap poor developing countries with huge amounts of debt they'll never be able to pay back.
Is the U.S. just trying to discourage developing countries from becoming too close to China or is there merit to their allegation? Join us for a fascinating and timely discussion wtih two recent Harvard graduate students who wrote a widely circulated paper on the subject.
Senior Security Analyst and Eurasia Review Contributor
Perhaps most concerning for Washington is China’s increased activity in the tiny, yet strategically important, state of Djibouti – located at the southern entrance to the Red Sea on the route to the Suez Canal – where both powers have military bases just a few miles apart.
Djibouti recently called time on a contract with Dubai’s DP World to run the Doraleh Container Terminal, amid rumors that the authoritarian government seized control of the port in order to gift it to China. The Pentagon fears that China could use its commercial clout to persuade Djibouti to evict US forces or, at the very least, to place restrictions on the port’s use, which could affect access to supplies and the ability of US navy ships to refuel.
Although this has not yet come to pass, signs of growing tensions – and Beijing’s increasing assertiveness – are already afoot.
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The China Africa Project was founded in 2010 by journalist Eric Olander and Asian/African scholar Cobus van Staden to serve as non- profit, non-partisan multimedia resource that explores every aspect of China’s growing engagement with Africa.