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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.

According to Johns Hopkins University, Djibouti has 1008 cases of coronavirus so far, increasing from a mere 30 a month ago. Due to the rising number of cases in the country, the US military based in Djibouti declared a public health emergency on Apr. 23.

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