This week’s launch of the new Lagos to Ibadan Standard Gauge Railway may be the last time for a long while that a big multibillion dollars infrastructure project like this is built in Africa using Chinese loans. Chinese development finance lending in Africa and elsewhere throughout the Global South has cratered in recent years and it appears that Beijing has, at least for now, lost interest in loaning vast sums of money to poor countries to build infrastructure.
To be sure, Chinese creditors are still making loans, just that they’re a lot smaller, less risky, and demand air-tight feasibility studies that almost guarantee they’ll get their money back.
Zainab Usman, Africa program director at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, is closely following Chinese overseas finance trends to study the impact on the continent. She joins Eric & Cobus from Washington to discuss her latest analysis that explores “five key takeaways on Chinese lending in Africa.”
- Carnegie Endowment for International Peace: What Do We Know About Chinese Lending in Africa? by Zainab Usman
- Financial Times: China curtails overseas lending in face of geopolitical backlash by Jonathan Wheatley and James Kynge
- Rhodium Group: China’s Belt and Road: Down but not Out by Matthew Mingey and Agatha Kratz
Zainab Usman is a senior fellow and director of the Africa Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, D.C. Her fields of expertise include institutions, economic policy, energy policy, and emerging economies in Africa. Her forthcoming book, Economic Diversification in Nigeria: the Politics of Building a Post-Oil Economy, is set to be published by Zed/Bloomsbury Press in November 2021.
Prior to Carnegie, Usman was at the World Bank initially as part of the prestigious Young Professionals Program and later as a public sector specialist. At the World Bank, she worked on social sustainability, policy reforms, natural resources management, and disruptive technologies. She has worked on these issues in Cote d’Ivoire, Morocco, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, the Republic of Congo, Serbia, Tanzania, and Uzbekistan. She has also worked at the Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford and has consulted for the Department of International Development (DfID) and the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) in Nigeria.
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