There has been an increasing concern over “debt trap diplomacy” in recent years, which refers to the sustainability of African debt owed to China. Although it is unlikely that this is a deliberate strategy by the Chinese government, it is important to take into account the scale of the debt and the associated issues. Recent studies have uncovered high levels of “hidden” debt and defaults, with Chinese lenders' restructuring providing little relief. At the same time, there has been criticism from both African and Chinese stakeholders regarding the lending and restructuring practices of multinational lenders. The impact of COVID-19 on African countries’ liquidity has compounded the overall debt situation, which could lead to a potential financial crisis on the continent. Will we see African countries defaulting in large numbers? Which role can Chinese lenders and multinational institutions play?
The event consists of different impulse lectures followed by a discussion.
The Global China Conversation #20 will be held in English.
Christoph Trebesch is Head of the Research Centre International Finance and Macroeconomics and Director of the Research Initiative Geopolitics and Economics at the Kiel Institute, as well as a Professor of Macroeconomics at Kiel University. His research links international financial markets, macroeconomics, economic history, and political economy, with a growing focus on China's rise in the global financial system. After completing his doctorate at FU Berlin, he first went to LMU Munich as an assistant professor and then moved to Kiel. He has advised the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the United Nations, and the US Treasury Department and is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the German Federal Ministry of Finance. His work is regularly cited by leading international media, such as the New York Times, the Economist, or the Financial Times.
Hannah Ryder is the CEO of Development Reimagined (DR). A former diplomat and economist with 20 years of experience, named one of 100 most influential Africans in 2021, she is also Senior Associate for the Africa Program of the Center for Strategic International Studies (CSIS), sits on the Board of the Environmental Defence Fund, and is a member of UAE's International Advisory Council on the New Economy. Prior to her role at DR, Ms Ryder led the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s work with China to help it scale up and improve its cooperation with other developing countries, including in Africa. She has also played various advisory roles for the UN and OECD and co-authored the seminal Stern Review of the Economics of Climate Change in 2006.
Felix Lee is editor of China.Table and business editor of taz - die Tageszeitung, where he is responsible for trade and the global economy. Between 2012 and 2019, he was China correspondent for taz, Zeit Online, Die Presse, Luxemburger Wort and the Funke Group.