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Belt and Road

Coronavirus in Djibouti increases risk of China debt trap

Horn of Africa nation sees rapid infrastructure development, but with trade-offs

Nagad Station, the terminus at the Djibouti end of a railway that snakes 750 km to a suburb of Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, is staffed by Chinese. (Photo by Masanori Tobita)

DJIBOUTI -- Infrastructure projects financed by Chinese capital are gathering steam in Djibouti, causing concern in Washington that the tiny East African nation is falling into a debt trap that will allow Beijing to reinforce its influence on the continent. With the coronavirus spreading in the Horn of Africa, its fiscal burden may further increase.

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