China ousted Western companies from Africa’s biggest infrastructure projects

According to the newspaper, in the 90s, on average, 8 out of 10 construction projects on the African continent were carried out by Western companies.

According to the Hinrich Foundation, their share in the construction of infrastructure facilities in Africa has been gradually declining, but in 2013 it still accounted for approximately 37% of the market, while China accounted for about 12%. However, after the emergence of the Chinese initiative «One Belt — One Road» in 2013, companies from the PRC began to rapidly win back the «lion’s share of the market.»

According to the publication, in 2022, Chinese contractors received about 31% of contracts for the construction of infrastructure facilities in Africa worth $50 million or more. At the same time, the share of Western companies decreased to 12%.

As the author of the study and former World Trade Organization spokesman Keith Rockwell noted, as part of the Belt and Road Initiative, China has launched several large infrastructure projects in Africa worth several billion dollars. Among them are the construction of railway lines in Kenya and Ethiopia, as well as ports in Djibouti and Nigeria. At the same time, China, as Rockwell emphasized, has become the continent’s largest trading partner — China’s trade with African countries in 2021 reached $250 billion, while with the United States this figure amounted to $62 billion.

The author of the study noted that over the past two years, the total volume of Chinese infrastructure projects in sub-Saharan Africa reached $155 billion. At the same time, US direct investment in the region in 2021 amounted to only $44.8 billion. In his opinion, this difference in terms of funding gave Beijing a significant influence on the governments of African countries, so it becomes quite understandable to receive new contracts for infrastructure projects.