Beijing (AsiaNews) - Loans made by Chinese state-owned banks to the nations of Latin America have grown in 2014 by a 71% over the previous year, coming in at around $ 22 billion. According to data presented in a report by the China-Latin America Finance Database, this is the second largest volume of money granted in recent history by Beijing to the continent: the record dates back to 2010, when the total figure stood at 37 billion dollars.
In any case, Chinese loans exceed those provided by the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank together. Brazil alone received 8.6 billion, followed by Argentina with 7 billion, Venezuela with 5.7 billion and Ecuador with 821 million.
According to the authors of the report, "China may tacitly require that Chinese companies have a hand in some projects, but has avoided meddling in domestic policy".
Chinese finance is key for a number of infrastructure programmes in Latin America, including an upgrade of the underground in the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires, and road building in Ecuador. According to expert estimates, at this rate 2015 will break the 2010 record.
This policy of government loans does not just concern Latin Ameria, but ranges from Southeast Asia to Africa. In fact, between 2000 to 2011, China invested more than $ 75 billion in Africa. Of these, only 1.1 billion per year are officially declared as "contributions to a developing country" within the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The amount of American investments in the same period is estimated at $ 90 billion.
Beijing has struggled to keep the exact figure of their African investments under wraps, as they have been defined by some analysts "a new form of colonialism." The researchers, based on Western and African news sources have identified 1673 Chinese projects on the Continent over the period under consideration.