Welcome to our new midweek publication where we share what we’re reading and our current thoughts on a few developing issues.
“If you want to get rich, build roads first,” said the Chinese Vice-Minister Le Yucheng.
The current state of transportation infrastructure in Nigeria (and in Africa) is abysmal and as country which has made building roads, bridges and ports into its bread and butter, China has a valuable role to play.
The Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has aided in exporting this expertise to the world. According to Deloitte, China has financed 1 in 5 infrastructure projects in Africa and has constructed 1 in 3. But this comes at the obvious cost of increased vulnerability and dependence - the Sri Lankan Debt Trap scandal comes to mind. As Sub-Saharan Africa is facing a debt crisis occasioned by COVID-19, it is important to understand the role China’s BRI has played in this.
This paper by David Dollar from the Brookings Institution provides a comprehensive overview of China’s BRI: Understanding China’s Belt and Road Infrastructure Projects in Africa (September 2019).
As always, we welcome feedback, recommendations and comments.