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Has the China’s offensive in Africa come to an end?

By Pierre-Olivier Rouaud
Posted on Monday, 1 November 2021 09:25

Construction of Cairo’s Iconic Tower, carried out by the China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC). Sui Xiankai/XINHUA-REA

Chinese groups continue to win more than a third of infrastructure contracts on the continent. But their backers are becoming increasingly cautious.

It is impossible to count the number of projects led by Chinese construction groups on the continent. From the Foundiougne toll bridge being completed in Senegal to the urban motorway under construction in Nairobi, not to mention the recent railway contract with Tanzania and Cairo’s Iconic Tower, Africa’s future tallest tower, Beijing has a huge appetite for African projects. And – until now at least – it has had enough money to finance them.

The wave of Chinese projects on the continent began more than 20 years ago after the Middle Kingdom launched its “Going Out” doctrine in 1999 and has only grown stronger over the years. Today, it is on par with President Xi Jiping’s international ambitions and the weight of the companies he is dragging in his wake.