Beijing’s offensive on the continent was believed to have considerably slowed down in recent months. China, which has itself been shaken by the Covid pandemic, has been unusually reserved in Africa. And criticism (from the West, led by the US) of Beijing’s “massive loans” to some African countries, which lead to debt overhang, has monopolised the debate on China-Africa relations.
However, this is not the case. At least this is what the Chinese authorities are trying to show through their increased media coverage and initiatives over the past few weeks. Accused of not adhering to the G20’s common framework for restructuring the debt of countries in difficulty, China announced at the end of August that it would be cancelling 23 loans granted to 17 African countries and its intention to redirect the equivalent of $10bn of its Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) to Africa through the IMF.
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