The visit by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) earlier this year was indicative of a shift in Beijing’s lending and investment focus for Africa, according to analysts.
During his trip to Kinshasa in January, Wang promised that Beijing would write off loans to the Central African nation worth about US$28 million to help it deal with the impact of Covid-19 and provide US$17 million in other financial support.
He said also that China would fund infrastructure projects in the DRC, as it became the 45th country to sign up to the Belt and Road Initiative, Beijing’s grand plan to boost interconnectivity and trade around the world.
Over the past two decades, much of China’s lending in Africa has gone to Angola, which pioneered the concept of oil-backed loans to pay for roads, power dams and ports.
According to the China Africa Research Initiative (CARI) at Johns Hopkins University, between 2000 and 2019, China extended US$42.6 billion worth of loans to Angola – about 30 per cent of its total lending to African nations.
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