Regarding Chinese President Xi Jinping's trip to Europe, The Globalist magazine published a rich table of numbers, showing that since Beijing announced its new Silk Road program in 2013, Chinese lending has grown rapidly, especially in countries that no longer receive much credit from the West. .

The countries indebted to China under the New Silk Road Program owe more than a thousand billion dollars, and since 2000 the external debt of the second largest economy in the world has risen to 1,100 billion dollars. How did it all come together? Primarily, China has financed 21,000 investments in 165 countries as part of its New Silk Road programme. It is noteworthy that 80% of Chinese loans were granted to countries that were suffering from debt problems and are still suffering today Globalisation.

By comparison, OECD countries provided $223 billion in aid to the developing world in 2023, an improvement over the previous year, when the figure was $211 billion.

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Which countries are most indebted to Beijing? Pakistan tops the World Bank's list for 2022 with $26.6 billion and Angola with $21 billion. Both countries are in a debt trap, so Beijing was forced to provide a $2 billion overdue loan in February this year after Pakistan failed to repay.

Likewise, Angola also found itself in a bind: in March, it held lengthy negotiations with its largest Chinese lending partner, the China Development Bank, and reached a lower monthly installment.
The third is Sri Lanka, which went financially bankrupt during Covid due to a lack of tourists, mostly Chinese who were expected to generate most of the revenue. Sri Lanka's debt was $8.9 billion, which is why they were hoping for a bailout from Beijing, but there they decided: it's not worth that much to them! They said: Sri Lanka should turn to the International Monetary Fund, which has linked life-saving aid to radical reforms.

Of the twenty largest Chinese borrowers from Europe, Belarus was the only one, Putin's only real ally: they received $3.9 billion.

Beijing asserts that it is providing loans to countries under the New Silk Road program that would not get much elsewhere, while the West warns that countries that borrow from China may fall into a debt trap, and China could then exploit this situation for its political purposes. According to a 2023 AitData report, 80% of China's loans go to countries that are in a debt trap or very close to it.

American David Malpass, who at the head of the World Bank tried to ease the developing world's debt crisis during the Covid crisis, explained his position on China's new Silk Road and the difficult debt situation of the developing world in a study for the Hudson Institute. First, he noted that the outlook for the global economy is not good: there is expected to be slow economic growth in the 2020s, which may cause problems in loan repayments. Capital flows occur mainly in the developed world, while the developing world receives little. In addition, countries in the developed world are spending more and more on armaments, and as a result, there is less money available to support the developing world.

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This is how the situation could have developed by the end of last year, when 60% of poor countries fell into the high debt risk category according to a World Bank survey. Poor countries have already spent $30 billion on debt repayment in 2023, while in 2021 it amounted to only $10 billion. China could depend on repaying debt worth $16 billion in 2023, compared to only $6 billion two years ago. At the same time, the direction of capital flow has reversed: previously, money moved from rich to poor countries, but now it is the other way around.