How Chinese Money is Transforming Africa: It’s Not What You Think

How Chinese Money is Transforming Africa: It’s Not What You Think
Jyhjong Hwang, Deborah Bräutigam and Janet Eom,
CARI Policy Brief, 2016(11)


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With recent media reports of a new “Chinese loan” of $6 billion to Buhari's Nigeria, or "Chinese pledges" of $1 trillion in finance to Africa by 2025, an already distorted picture of Chinese lending soared to new heights. Where, why, and how are Chinese banks really financing African development? Are African countries risking a new debt crisis? CARI researchers began collecting, cleaning, and analyzing China’s African loans in 2007. Join us for answers to these and other questions, as SAIS-CARI unveils its new database of Chinese loans to Africa, 2000 to 2014.

We will explore some surprising insights:

  • Who gets the Lion's share of the Dragon's loans? Angola received 25% of all Chinese loans to Africa between 2000 and 2015, almost all of them backed by Angolan oil.
  • Bloomberg and Fitch, take note: Did China Eximbank really lend more than the World Bank in Africa? SAIS-CARI data shows cumulative 2001 to 2010 China Eximbank loan to Africa amount to only US$27.2 billion, not your figure of US$67.2 billion.
  • he World Bank is still a larger lender than China Eximbank.
    What do Chinese loans pay for in Africa? Transportation. Between 2000 and 2014, transportation received the largest share: US$23.6 billion worth.
  • What are the biggest Chinese loan-financed infrastructure projects in Africa? No. 1: Kenya's Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway Phase I, funded by US$3.6 billion worth of Chinese loans; No.2: Ethiopia's Addis-Djibouti Railway, funded at US$2.5 billion. Both were signed in 2013.