In which African countries has China invested?

China's Silk Road also leads to Africa

Some studies have investigated the existence of such a debt trap. The consistent finding, however, appears to be that there is no evidence of maliciously deliberate loans that are designed to trap a debtor or usurp their assets. While the increasing debt burden - often as a result of the expansion of urgently needed infrastructure - is undoubtedly a cause for concern in many African countries, the problem is by no means specifically linked to Chinese financiers, but rather a question of total debt.

The first signs of financial distress as a result of the corona pandemic, for example in Zambia, are more likely to be due to interest claims due from private creditors than to liabilities to China. In the past, Chinese donors have also deferred, renegotiated, or canceled debts; but it is a long process and is not offered for all types of development finance.

Of course, this does not mean that the debt problem should be taken lightly. It is a serious matter that African countries must continue to examine more carefully. Large infrastructure projects of the kind that developing countries need are complicated to manage and often suffer from delays and skyrocketing costs, while the benefits are overestimated. If the contribution to economic growth is then limited, payment difficulties can arise with potentially catastrophic consequences for debtors.