Published online by Cambridge University Press: 21 April 2022
This chapter introduces the central argument of the book: that China’s 21st- century transition from a “benefactor” to a “banker” has had far-reaching im- pacts in low-income and middle-income countries that are not yet widely understood. Beijing’s growing use of debt rather than aid to bankroll big-ticket infrastructure projects has created new opportunities for developing countries to achieve rapid socioeconomic gains, but it has also introduced major risks, including corruption, conflict, and environmental degradation. Some countries are more effective than others at managing these risks and rewards. This chapter “zooms in” on two countries—Sri Lanka and Tanzania—to illustrate the tension between efficacy and safety confronted by developing countries banking on Chinese development finance. It also provides a roadmap for the rest of the book.
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