China’s investment in African infrastructure as part of its Belt and Road Initiative has proven
to be both transformative and controversial. While investment projects are helping Africa
to close its infrastructure gap, they have also raised fears of runaway debt levels. Overall,
more research is needed on the development impact of Chinese investment activities on
the continent, including the financial implications thereof. This report aims to address this
knowledge gap. Drawing on diverse datasets, it examines Chinese infrastructure projects in
three countries: Ethiopia, Kenya, and Nigeria. A key result of the study is that while many of
these projects are still underway, they are likely to have a positive impact in the future. In
particular, they will boost trade and development in the commodities and services sectors.
Nevertheless, the benefits of the Belt and Road Initiative will not be evenly distributed in
Africa. Top commodity producers and exporters will continue to benefit more than some
other African countries. Countries should take cognizance of and mitigate the downside
risks associated with Chinese interventions in Africa, including growing their debt loads and
minimizing the negative effects on the environment.

You May Also Like