Development economics – ‘China build airports but the US lecture us’

Former US Treasury Secretary and Harvard Professor Larry Summers stated at the recent IMF Meetings:

“Somebody from a developing country said to me, ‘what we get from China is an airport. What we get from the United States is a lecture,’”

Although China does build a lot of infrastructure in the developing world there have been concerns about the debt these countries incur, in particular the Belt and Road project. China has been spending billions of dollars to bail out countries who have struggled to repay loans used to build this infrastructure although the money has been ultimately used to save China’s own banks. Some key stats from the DW report below.

  • China’s Belt and Road Rescue Lending to countries = US$240bn between 2008-2021
  • 80% of the rescue lending was between 2016-2021
  • Involved 22 countries – main benefactors were Argentina – US$111.8bn Pakistan – 48.5bn Egypt – 15.6bn

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