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Top 10 African countries indebted to China

There have been concerns as the external debts of most African countries have maintained an increase over the years, towering over their economic growth.

Top 10 African countries indebted to China [BI]

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has projected that by 2024, African countries’ economy will grow at 4%, making it the second-fastest-growing economic region in the world after Asia.

This projection, however, is threatened by the continent's ever-increasing debt.

Data from the World Bank shows that 12% of the debt burden on the African continent is owed to China and Chinese lenders.

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Here are the top 10 African countries indebted to China:

Angola’s $20.98 billion debt to China primarily accumulated through loans for rebuilding its infrastructure after the nation’s civil war. China’s interest in Angola’s oil sector has also seen the global lender exchange loans for oil shipments.

The Ethiopian government is about $6.82 billion in debt to China. The funds have been heavily invested in the country’s projects like the Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway and various industrial parks to boost economic growth and industrialisation.

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The growth of Kenya’s infrastructure projects has been dependent on China. Kenya owes China $6.69 billion, part of which was slated for the construction of infrastructure like the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) intended to enhance connectivity and trade within East Africa.

Zambia’s debt to China, at $6.08 billion, is majorly targeted for mining and infrastructure projects. Zambia, rich in copper resources, has seen significant Chinese investment in its mining sector.

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Egypt’s debt to China stands at $5.21 billion and has been instrumental to the development and construction of several infrastructure and energy projects, including the New Administrative Capital.

Nigeria’s $4.29 billion debt to China is primarily for infrastructure projects such as railways, highways, and power plants.

As of June 2022, Nigeria’s debt to China accounted for 83.57% of the country’s total bilateral debt.

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The government of Cote d’Ivoire has over the years, enjoyed a mutual business presence with the Chinese government. Just like other African countries, China has played a huge role in rebuilding Cote d'Ivoire's economy after the devastating COVID-19 pandemic.

Like other economically distressed African countries, Cameroon continues to turn to China for loans to finance infrastructure projects.

China in 2019, granted Cameroon debt forgiveness worth about $78 million to help the central African country ease economic hardship.

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Congo has been a longstanding partner with China in industrial development and the loans have played a large part in financing the country's projects. Congo's new highway projects, National Route 1, (US$ 1.8 billion) and National Route 2 (US$ 537 million) were financed by loans from China.

The South African government has largely depended on Chinese loans over the years for developmental projects and especially for the operations of its largest power parastatal, ESKOM.

Chinese lending has, however, declined sharply since it peaked massively in 2016 at $28.4 billion. As of 2022, the loans dropped to $995 million, the lowest since 2004 showing a slight deviation from China’s decade-long big-ticket infrastructure spree on the continent.

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The drop comes amid the debt crisis currently plaguing the continent.

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