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Spelman College

Publication Date

Spring 2023

Program Name

Switzerland: International Studies and Multilateral Diplomacy


This research paper will evaluate Africa’s past with debt accumulation, focusing on the role of the Washington Consensus spearheaded by the Bretton Woods Institutions in its failed attempts to relieve the continent’s debt distresses and further aggravate Africa’s already fractured relationship with the West. It will highlight the goals of the Belt and Road Initiative, assessing China’s South-South cooperation approach to its relations with Djibouti and the Horn of Africa. Specifically, it will investigate claims of China engaging in debt-trap diplomacy and the extent to which this term infringes upon the agency of African leaders. The general research question investigates the extent to which China’s encroachment into Africa threatens the sovereignty of these countries, focusing specifically on Djibouti as a case study for the examination of African agency in the face of Chinese project finance. To appreciate the dynamic nature of the BRI, I integrated primary research acquired through three interviews with experts in the field to shape the direction of my paper in conjunction with selected secondary research sources. Ultimately, this paper will serve as a commentary on the shift towards a bi-multipolar world in which the dominant hegemons are deviating from West to East.


African Studies | Growth and Development | International Business | International Economics | International Relations | Transportation Engineering


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