Policy Brief & Alerts

June 5, 2015

The Chinese Model Of Infrastructure Development In Africa

Infrastructural
development is a key step in providing a competitive business environment for
African economies. It provides the backbone for poverty reduction strategies
and programmes designed to improve the livelihood of the poor. Africa is in
dire need of infrastructural development. The absence of quality infrastructure
in the continent holds back per capita economic growth by 2 percentage points
each year and depresses firm productivity by as much as 40 percent (Escribano
et al., 2008 and Kelly, 2012). Estimates suggest that around USD 90 billion is
required to close Africas infrastructure gap annually until 2020 (AICD, 2010).

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Date of Publication:January 2015


Volume Number:1 Issue 10

Document Size:12 pages


Within
the past decade, China has financed infrastructure projects worth USD 28
billion in Africa (World Bank, 2013). In fact, from 2001 till the end of 2011,
around 10 major RFI deals were either completed, or at the implementation stage
in eight African countries: Angola, Congo-Brazzaville, Democratic Republic of
Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Gabon, Sudan, Nigeria and Zimbabwe, with a combined
financial value of approximately USD 22 billion (Davies, 2010; China-Africa
Economic and Trade Cooperation 2013; and Konijn, 2014).

The
most attractive attribute of Chinese RFI loans for African countries is the
competitive interest rates and no-strings attached conditions provided by RFI
swaps. On the part of China, RFI loans provide a way to secure export markets
for Chinese goods and services, given that the approval of RFI loans by Chinas
EXIM bank is tied to the purchase of around 70 per cent of Chinese goods and
services. Thus, the use of RFI loans in Africa actualizes Chinas economic
objective of export promotion and the foreign policy of non-interference.




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