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China’s Has Huge Ambitions for International Railway Development, Just Not So Much in Africa Anymore

The new $6 billion China-Laos railway. Image via Xinhua.

It used to be that, when a Chinese Foreign Minister made the annual first overseas trip of the year to Africa, as Wang Yi is about to this week, financing railway development would be a top talking point at every stop.

Chinese railway financing and construction were hallmarks of Beijing’s early engagement on the continent. Thousands of kilometers of new lines were built in Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti, Nigeria, and elsewhere. In fact, more railway lines were laid in Africa by Chinese companies in the two decades after 2000 than at any time since the colonial era.

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