China's role in African infrastructure and capital projects

In Africa, large infrastructure gaps remain an obstacle to growth, investment and economic diversification. In 2018, Deloitte's annual Africa Construction Trends report, that tracks construction projects worth more than US$50 mn, noted that African governments fund the largest share of projects through international development finance institutions. Over the past two decades China has helped to meet some of Africa's infrastructure financing needs and is now the single largest investor, financing one in five projects and constructing one in three.

This article tracks China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in Africa, that is creating fresh waves of road, rail, port and energy investment, making the continent more connected, internally and with the outside world. Beyond financing and construction support, the anticipated benefits of the BRI projects include: 

  • Improved connectivity and logistics
  • Raising the profile of specific countries for investment
  • Promoting intra-regional and global trade
  • Technology and skills transfers and spill overs
  • Fast-tracking infrastructure development

Read the article to understand the nuances of the Chinese interests in Africa; and how abundant Chinese funds at a time when African countries are looking for alternative sources of development finance, and the global appetite and capacity of Chinese construction firms, could be a win-win combination for China and Africa.

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