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

Rickshaws drive past a signboard to showcase the new standard gauge railway line under construction from Iju in Lagos to Abeokuta, Ogun State in southwest Nigeria, on February 7, 2019. The passenger train service which is designed to boost economic activites and ease movement of passengers by rail from Lagos to Abeokuta when fully operational will reduce damage on roads caused by heavy duty trucks and traffic congestion especially in Lagos, Nigeria's economic nerve centre. PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP

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 it’s just a compelling PR talking point. So, I sent the story to Li Chenmei, a Beijing-based policy specialist at a leading Chinese think tank. But unlike many policy advisors and analysts who do most of their work in an office, Chenmei is out in the field, working directly with local and Chinese governments, SOEs and a variety of other stakeholders on large-scale development projects in Central Asia, Africa, and other regions.

Chenmei wrote back a fascinating, thoughtful response to the story that I thought would be helpful to share with the CAP community.

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