Gemueva Karina
Chinese Infrastructure Projects in Sub-Saharan Africa: Credit Financing
Publication Type:


ISSN 2542-0240 (Print)

DOI 10.23932/2542-0240-2018-11-5-55-73

Chinese companies are actively involved in building infrastructure facilities in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), with a substantial part of the projects funded by Chinese banks. According to some estimates, more than 60% of all Chinese loans granted to the SSA countries from 2000 to 2015 were provided to this end. Vast majority of the projects are carried out by the state-owned enterprises (SOEs). Their main advantages are the opportunity to obtain concessionary financing for the project, a special Chinese model of financing, a government support of activities serving the national strategic goals and the expertise gained from the implementation of similar projects in China. This combination of Chinese banks and companies is an effective tool for promoting China’s strategic economic and political interests. Meanwhile, it gives the SSA countries a unique opportunity to implement large-scale infrastructure projects necessary for further socio-economic development. China’s participation in infrastructure projects in the SSA countries began in the 1960s, and there has been a marked increase in the scale and number of projects since the first decade of the 21st century. In response to the launching “One belt, one road” initiative, the focus is shifting towards cross-border and transregional mega-projects. Chinese financing model profile described in the article comprise “tied” loans, no-political-strings-attached approach (except for the recognition of the “one China” principle), combined schemes to reduce the risk of non-repayment of loans and non-transparent transaction terms. The key areas of infrastructure development by Chinese companies in the SSA countries, i.e. energy, transport and telecommunications, are considered in detail. Particular attention is paid to the largest projects in each area. The problems arising during the implementation of Chinese infrastructure projects, as well as features of the project implementation environment on the African continent are analyzed.


Keywords: Sub-Saharan Africa | China | loan financing | energy infrastructure | transport infrastructure | telecommunications |

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