The Great Game – China falling into its own debt trap?
The Chinese “Debt Trap” has become something of a geopolitical meme over the last years. With China’s massive investments in the African continent, many feared that the recipient countries wouldn’t be able to repay the enormous Chinese loans and thus be trapped in a situation where they would have to pay back with political concessions such as allowing Chinese military bases, rejecting US aid and investments or aiding Chinese interests in other matters.
As seen on this chart, China is heavily invested across the Southern Hemisphere – especially in Southest Asia and Africa. There is a clear trend that the more military interesting for China – the more heavy the debt to China. This is the case for Djibouti, where China opened its first military base in 2021, in Laos, where the Chinese army is regularly holding drills and parades and on the Western coast of Africa, especially Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon and Angola, who are all considered key targets for the first Chinese military base facing the Atlantic Ocean. The small island country of the Maldives is also the subject of both heavy Chinese investment along with Chinese military interest. So it’s clear to see the link between Chinese capital investments and geopolitical ambitions.