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West Warns Africa Against Borrowing Too Much From China but Doesn't Offer Any Alternative

East African countries have borrowed just under $30 billion from China in recent years in what appears to be a calculated gamble to rapidly build infrastructure that will jump start economic development.

It's a big risk because now these countries are spending 8% of their total gross revenues to pay back these loans with no guarantee that any of these transport, communications, manufacturing or energy projects will ever turn a profit.

To China's critics in the West, the surging debt levels in East Africa highlight Beijing's predatory lending agenda. But embedded in that same critique is an offensive paternalism that strips African policymakers of any agency in their decisions to engage the Chinese for what is undeniably a risky gamble with their countries' economic futures.

While we should do everything possible to scrutinize Chinese lending practices around the world, it's also equally important to consider the very limited options that are available to African leaders when it comes to building the kinds of infrastructure projects they are doing with the Chinese.

If China is not the answer, then what is? You don't really think the U.S., EU or JPN is ever going to loan some of the poorest countries in the world $30b to build roads and bridges do you? 

Eric Olander 欧瑞克
Asia-based Media Executive. Content Strategist. Podcaster. Social Media Creator.


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