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Last week, the Trump administration’s move to limit Huawei’s access to American components brought the waves of the trade war ashore in ways that were perceptible to the most casual African observer of the China-Africa relationship.
A truly global international development regime should be based on shared values and common rules, while also respecting the wants and rights of recipient countries and societies. If the Development Assistance Committee (DAC)—the “traditional donors”—find common ground and build mutual trust with China, improved understanding and learning, and transparency, may follow.
China continues to borrow an average of $2 billion a year from the World Bank, making it one of the Bank’s top borrowers—despite being the world’s second-largest economy and itself a major global lender.
CGD research has become Exhibit A virtually every time the charge of “debt trap diplomacy” has been leveled against China in the media this past year. Yet, our research shows that many of China’s borrowers are managing their debts just fine and seem unlikely to fall into any traps.
What would it look like today if major multilateral finance institutions like the World Bank had never adopted the climate agenda as a binding constraint on their operations? Unfortunately, we have a real-world approximation of that hypothetical in the form of Chinese development finance. At least, that’s a conclusion I draw from an important new report from World Resources Institute (WRI) and Boston University, Moving the Green Belt and Road Initiative: From Words to Actions.
The 2018 FOCAC Summit will open tomorrow in Beijing. There is much speculation about the size of the investment package China will unveil at the summit. It appears, however, that we are in a new phase of Chinese financing. A combination of domestic and international pressures will likely alter China’s extensive lending program—African states that have relied on this lifeline must adjust to the new reality.