Editor’s Note: April 25, 2019

Like it or not China’s Belt and Road is here to stay

China has cancelled all interest-free loans it extended to Ethiopia up to the end of 2018. The announcement comes as Ethiopian prime minister Abiy Ahmed is in Beijing for the start of the second Belt and Road (BRI) Forum – China’s $1tr plus global trade initiative.

The move is likely in response to allegations over the last year that BRI infrastructure projects in developing countries are part of ‘debt trap’ diplomacy by Beijing. African countries in particular have repeatedly been warned about the perils of signing up.

The issue is already dominating news coverage of the gathering, despite being largely discreditedby research.

Lost in this is a sense of the significance of the BRI. Joining Ethiopia’s prime minister in Beijing are 37 other leaders, including Russian president Vladimir Putin and Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte.

The latter’s presence is particularly noteworthy. Italy is the first G7 member to join the BRI.

It’s a good reminder that the issue of how to deal with China – the world’s second-biggest economy – is a question not just for places like Africa.

Put differently, the Belt and Road is here to stay – like it or not.

A more useful debate than Beijing’s supposed ‘debt trap’ is to better understand the initiative, and how to get the most out of it.

From The Continent

Medical drone delivery service company Zipline has expanded into Ghana, having launched in Rwanda in 2016. The company will work with the government to distribute medicine to 2,000 health facilities across the country. More: TechCrunch


Tropical cyclone Kenneth is expected to make landfall in Mozambique on Thursday, weeks after cyclone Idai caused widespread destruction in the country. The storm is also expected to hit coastal areas near Tanzania’s commercial capital Dar es Salaam. More: CNN

The Daily Stat

446 tonnes

The amount of gold imported by the UAE from African exporters in 2016, up from 67 tonnes in 2006. More: Reuters

The Global Perspective

Nigeria’s petroleum ministry is in talks with Saudi Arabia’s state-oil company Saudi Aramco over potential investments into the sector. The focus is said to be on midstream and downstream projects. More: CNBC Africa

Brazilian mining giant Vale has filed a $2bn lawsuit against BSG Resources over its ill-fated investment into Guinea’s giant Simandou iron ore project. Vale is accusing the company of fraudulently getting it to buy a 51% stake in a joint venture, which was later revoked by the Guinean government. More: Reuters

The Daily Follow