After more than a decade, the CCP’s financial commitments to Africa were cut for the first time.
At the triennial Forum on China-Africa Cooperation being held in Senegal, Chinese president Xi Jinping promised African nations US$40 billion of investments. This is 30% down from the $60 billion offered in 2018.
Assistant professor at National Chengchi University in Taiwan Li Youtan said the China-Africa relationship has gradually deteriorated over the past three years.
She told VOA News the US-China trade war was the turning point of the changes.
China’s economic growth declined and it took a dive in its international dealings.
The substantial cut of investment from the CCP this year also came amid allegations of debt traps set on the African continent.
Via the “One Belt One Road” initiative, China would finance nations with their infrastructural development through loans. These countries would later have to pay off their debts gradually by supplying their natural resources instead of money. Yet, the international price of minerals fluctuates, and so do the bulk of the shipments African countries are obligated to offer.
International law firm Baker McKenzie reported 40 African nations participating in China’s infrastructure plan.
Between 2000 and 2019, China lent about $153 billion to Africa, and Angola accounted for 30% of the overall investment.
According to the International Monetary Fund statistics, the total public debt of Africa in the period 2008-2019 doubled.
While the debts could take years for the African countries to repay, infrastructure projects promised by China are also stumbling.
For example, the $3 billion worth of railway projects in Nigeria and the $450 million highway construction in Cameroon were both suspended. The railway project in Uganda was also delayed.
The railway line in Kenya was only one mile away from being finished. But eventually, it could not be completed due to difficulties in funding for an additional cost of $3.7 billion.
Academic Zheng Yushu of the City University of Hong Kong suggested the CCP would prey on the African governments’ frequent corruption and poor vision of feasible projects to have them deeply indebted to China.
He added, “The problem now is that the relevant projects cannot make money or even lose money, and China can just take them over when any nation fails to pay its debt.”