China Distributes Aid in Africa, With a Catch

The third article in a New York Times series called “Uneasy Engagement,” which examines “stresses and strains of China’s emergence as a global power,” looks at China’s complicated relationship with various African nations:

Now the scanners seem to illustrate something else: the aura of boosterism, secrecy and back-room deals that has clouded China’s use of billions of dollars in to court the developing world.

From Pakistan to Angola to Kyrgyzstan, China is using its enormous pool of foreign currency savings to cement diplomatic alliances, secure access to and drum up business for its flagship companies. Foreign aid — typically cut-rate loans, sometimes bundled with more commercial lines of credit — is central to this effort.

Leaders of developing nations have embraced China’s sales pitch of easy credit, without Western-style demands for political or economic reform, for a host of unmet needs. The results can be clearly seen in new roads, power plants, and telecommunications networks across the African continent — more than 200 projects since 2001, many financed with preferential loans from the Chinese government’s .

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