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Dr Odongo Kodongo’s December 7 article on One Belt One Road and its developmental effects on Africa is an informative piece that highlights many of the challenges faced by African states as they engage with China. Kodongo argues rightfully that Chinese engagement is largely responsive to domestic economic imperatives, including the need to find productive investments for foreign exchange reserves, and offload excess material capacity. Moreover, he correctly states that the Chinese government has historically had few qualms striking deals with authoritarian states and that Chinese loan contracts generally require that a high percentage of inputs and material are imported from China. However, I would argue that the article pushes certain narratives and misconceptions that are not borne out in the academic literature on Chinese-African relations. Foremost among these is the notion that China is engaging in what has been termed “debt-trap diplomacy” (essentially amounting to predatory l...

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