China’s “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) is reportedly burying some countries under massive debt. Of the 68 countries involved in the BRI, eight are vulnerable to debt distress, owing almost $18 billion to Beijing, according to the Center for Global Development. The release of the report coincided with the announcement by Chinese President Xi Jinping of a $60 billion package in investment, aid and loans in Africa over the next three years.
President Xi denied that China had been engaging in “debt diplomacy” by loading countries up with debt so they became politically beholden to Beijing. “China does not attach any political strings to its investment in Africa under the Belt and Road initiative, nor does it interfere in African countries’
internal affairs or impose its demands on others”, Xi said.