The boon of China’s entry into Africa comes with a warning

More than 40 African leaders trooped this month to Beijing for the triennial Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. A Kenyan woman joked that, rather than giving them more loans, Xi Jinping, China’s president, should keep all the leaders indefinitely in China instead. The continent, she said, would be better off without them. In the end, Mr Xi went for option number one: he gave them more money. Over the next three years, he announced, China would offer $60bn in new funding.

The issue of Africa’s supposed debt addiction to China has become the subject du jour — or remen huati, as they say in Mandarin. In copper-rich Zambia, which is heavily indebted to Beijing, China has been accused of using loans to inveigle itself into state-run entities, including the electricity utility and state…

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