Reality Check: Is China burdening Africa with debt?

BBC News
Date: November 4, 2018
By Reality Check team

Image copyrightGETTY IMAGESImage captionPresident Xi and African leaders at the FOCAC summit in Beijing, September 2018

Africa is facing a looming debt crisis, say leading development economists.

“Almost 40% of sub-Saharan African countries are in danger of slipping into a major debt crisis” according to the Overseas Development Institute, ahead of a major conference on debt being held in London this week.

And the relationship between African nations and China is often seen as a significant part of the problem.

Its critics say that major infrastructure projects carried out by Chinese companies in Africa are too expensive, and burden the host countries with enormous debts they can’t hope to repay.

The Chinese government is adamant that its economic relationships with African countries are mutually beneficial and rejects suggestions that it is using debt to expand global influence.
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