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China’s spatial fix and ‘debt diplomacy’ in Africa: constraining belt or road to economic transformation?

China’s spatial fix and ‘debt diplomacy’ in Africa: constraining belt or road to economic... Mounting overaccumulation of capital and material has compelled the Chinese government to seek solutions overseas. The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), with its transregional infrastructure projects connecting Eurasia and Africa, is the hallmark venture in this effort. Chinese road, railway, port and energy projects, implemented under the BRI banner, have become widespread in Africa. This article traces drivers of the BRI in the post-reform evolution of the Chinese economy and conceptualises the BRI as a multi-vector “spatial fix” aimed at addressing chronic overaccumulation. Focusing on Kenya, Djibouti and Ethiopia, the paper documents how loan financing related to BRI projects reveals contradictions that arise from China’s spatial fix in Africa. Concerns about a looming debt crisis on the continent and the questionable economic sustainability of some BRI projects have become more pressing amidst the COVID-19-induced economic contraction. Hopes for Africa’s economic transformation based on increasing connectivity under the BRI are unlikely to materialise. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Canadian Journal of African Studies / La Revue Canadienne des etudes Africaines Taylor & Francis

China’s spatial fix and ‘debt diplomacy’ in Africa: constraining belt or road to economic transformation?

China’s spatial fix and ‘debt diplomacy’ in Africa: constraining belt or road to economic transformation?


Abstract

Mounting overaccumulation of capital and material has compelled the Chinese government to seek solutions overseas. The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), with its transregional infrastructure projects connecting Eurasia and Africa, is the hallmark venture in this effort. Chinese road, railway, port and energy projects, implemented under the BRI banner, have become widespread in Africa. This article traces drivers of the BRI in the post-reform evolution of the Chinese economy and conceptualises the BRI as a multi-vector “spatial fix” aimed at addressing chronic overaccumulation. Focusing on Kenya, Djibouti and Ethiopia, the paper documents how loan financing related to BRI projects reveals contradictions that arise from China’s spatial fix in Africa. Concerns about a looming debt crisis on the continent and the questionable economic sustainability of some BRI projects have become more pressing amidst the COVID-19-induced economic contraction. Hopes for Africa’s economic transformation based on increasing connectivity under the BRI are unlikely to materialise.

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References (120)

Publisher
Taylor & Francis
Copyright
© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
ISSN
1923-3051
eISSN
0008-3968
DOI
10.1080/00083968.2020.1868014
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Mounting overaccumulation of capital and material has compelled the Chinese government to seek solutions overseas. The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), with its transregional infrastructure projects connecting Eurasia and Africa, is the hallmark venture in this effort. Chinese road, railway, port and energy projects, implemented under the BRI banner, have become widespread in Africa. This article traces drivers of the BRI in the post-reform evolution of the Chinese economy and conceptualises the BRI as a multi-vector “spatial fix” aimed at addressing chronic overaccumulation. Focusing on Kenya, Djibouti and Ethiopia, the paper documents how loan financing related to BRI projects reveals contradictions that arise from China’s spatial fix in Africa. Concerns about a looming debt crisis on the continent and the questionable economic sustainability of some BRI projects have become more pressing amidst the COVID-19-induced economic contraction. Hopes for Africa’s economic transformation based on increasing connectivity under the BRI are unlikely to materialise.

Journal

Canadian Journal of African Studies / La Revue Canadienne des etudes AfricainesTaylor & Francis

Published: Jan 2, 2022

Keywords: Spatial fix; infrastructure; Belt and Road Initiative; debt; China; correctif spatial; infrastructure; Initiative « la Ceinture et la Route »; dette; Chine

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