Economic diplomacy

China is delivering over 30% of Africa’s big construction projects. Here’s why.

By Kang-Chun Cheng

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Posted on March 16, 2022 07:10

Much of the infrastructure transforming the African continent is Chinese-funded. While the West might frame it as ‘debt-trap diplomacy’, a great deal are projects with World Bank guarantees – and the rollout unlikely slow down, given Africa’s profound need for roads, rails and ports.

Even within the confines of World Bank-financed contracts, Chinese firms are accounting for an increasing proportion of total contracts won. It turns out that the economic diplomacy of Chinese investments is equally attractive to recipient African nations.

Paving the way

Joel Mwangi, a driver in Kerugoya, the largest town in Kenya’s Kirinyaga County – a region known for its agricultural production – says the newly tarmacked roads have made life easier. “The Chinese have done well […],” he says. “The roads are  […] okay here. You can now travel […] 20 kilometres from Kerugoya to the centre of town in 20 minutes, which used to take up to an hour.”

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