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Jun 14, 2019

Johns Hopkins University professor and director of the China-Africa Research Initiative in Washington, D.C., Deborah Brautigam, joins Eric & Cobus this week to discuss accusations that China engages in so-called "debt trap diplomacy." 

The "debt trap" narrative, also commonly referred to as "predatory lending," states that China uses excessive lending to developing countries knowing full well these countries will not have the means to repay these loans. In turn, these countries, many of them very poor, will then be forced to default on the loans and handover key strategic assets to China or be forced to otherwise compromise their sovereignty to satisfy Beijing.

Brautigam looked at more than 3,000 Chinese infrastructure projects around the world in an article recently published in The American Interest magazine and found no evidence to support this oft-cited charge. China's critics in the U.S. and Europe are misguided when they focus on Beijing's massive lending as some kind of political conspiracy, explained Brautigam. Instead, she contends, China exporting corruption and crony capitalism are much more worrisome.


Do you agree with professor Brautigam's contention that Chinese lending is more motivated by commercial considerations than political objectives and that concerns about supposed "debt traps" are overblown? Or do you think she is misreading the situation and that Chinese lending in Africa and elsewhere really is the proverbial "trojan horse" that U.S. leaders have been warning about?

Let us know what you think.

Twitter: @eolander | @stadenesque | @d_brautigam
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