Tuesday, December 20, 2022

African Debt Distress and the Role of China

 Chatham House published on 15 December 2022 a study titled "The Response to Debt Distress in Africa and the Role of China" by Alex Vines, Creon Butler, and Yu Jie.

The study concludes that Chinese lenders account for 12 percent of Africa's private and public external debt.  China is a major creditor of many African nations, but its lending has dropped from a peak of $28.4 billion in 2016 to $8.2 billion in 2019, falling again to $1.9 billion in 2020.  China did not cause African debt distress in most cases, but it is key to finding a solution.

Comment:  Earlier studies have suggested that China held between 17 and 20 percent of Africa's external debt.  Although the decline in Chinese loans to Africa since 2016 explains some of the percentage drop in China's debt holdings, it does not seem to explain all of it.