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Opinion

China's expensive bet on Africa has failed

Coronavirus crash in commodity prices has wasted $200 billion in investment and loans

| China
A Chinese worker talks to his colleague at an oil production facility in Sudan in December 2010: China's foray into Africa coincided with the peak of the commodity supercycle.   © Tribune News Service/Getty Images

Minxin Pei is professor of government at Claremont McKenna College and a nonresident senior fellow of the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

China's commercial activities in Africa, such as investments, infrastructure projects and bank lending, have long attracted scrutiny and criticism. Critics have accused Beijing of practicing a new form of economic colonialism to gain control of the continent's valuable natural resources by luring unsuspecting African nations into so-called debt traps.

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