Friday, April 29, 2016

The Economist on our New China-Africa Loan Data

Our new China Africa Research Initiative (CARI) data on Chinese loans in Africa was featured in an article in The Economist today. I'm pleased that they featured our findings that China Eximbank is not (as widely believed) a bigger lender to Africa than the World Bank:

In 2011 Fitch, a rating agency, reported that over the previous decade the China Export-Import Bank had lent more than the World Bank to sub-Saharan Africa*. In fact, say the CARI team, the World Bank has been the bigger lender every year in the past decade bar two, although Chinese lending is catching up.

The graph above shows our data for lending by both banks to all of Africa (north and sub-Saharan). If you only focus on SSA, World Bank figures drop below China Eximbank in 2008 and 2013.

We will be reporting more highlights from our data in subsequent posts.


Kai Xue said...

I finally had the chance to see your team's terrific note, "How Chinese Money is Transforming Africa". Especially useful was the country by country breakdown. A lot of new insights can be gleaned from that table. Thank you very much for preparing what is the most informative academic data set I have encountered in all of Sino-African studies.

I do have a few suggestions for improving the data. In two countries--Zambia and South Africa--I think the data is inaccurate.

The breakdown shows no lending to South Africa at all but this can't be true. For instance Jinchuan/CAD Fund acquired a stake in Wesizwe Platnium and borrowed US$650 million from CDB to develop a mine. It seems to have materialized in 2014 or earlier.

As a CDB lawyer, Zambian projects have kept me busy but the breakdown shows nothing between CDB and Zambia. "CDB has so far provided loans amounting to 410 million dollars to Zambia in areas such as metallurgy, roads, real estate, which have gone a long way in supporting the African nation's economic development and trade." (June 2015)

And I know for this note you go up to 2014, but in December 2015, a US$418 million loan between CDB and Zambia for copperbelt roads was signed.

I hope your team can do an update with 2015 data.

Deborah Brautigam said...

Hi Kai Xue,
Any help you can give on verifying loans would be great. Note that while we are tracking ALL Chinese loans (from any entity) to any African entity, we only published data on Chinese loans to African governments and their SOEs. So the Wesizwe loan probably would not appear in this version of the database, while the loan to Transnet (a South African government owned company) will appear (signed in 2015, I believe). Likewise, it may be that the CDB loans to Zambia are mainly to private companies? "metallurgy and real estate" sound like that, although roads should be government. Again, if you can help us out with projects, it would be great -- email me privately.

Kai Xue said...

Would a broader scope for inclusion of loans counting Chinese subsidiaries in Africa that receive loans from these policy bank better reflect the policy choices for lending in Africa decided in Beijing?

Zambia-China Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone signed CDB loans in 2014. China Nonferrous owns it.

Glad to help with data verification but I must match up any help to public sources because of ethics rules.