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Apr 29, 2018

Africans have long dreamed of trans-continental travel, allowing for people and goods to seamlessly move by road or rail from Cairo to Cape Town or Dakar to Djibouti. While a north-south transportation network is still unfathomable, an east-west corridor is actually taking shape thanks in part to massive amounts of Chinese financing.

Large sections of a proposed network of highways, known as Trans-Africa Highways 5 and 6, that aims to connect Senegal in the east with Djibouti via Chad, have already been built. If fully completed, this new coast-to-coast road system would extend more than 8,700 kilometers.

It's a hugely risky undertaking as host governments along the route are loading up on potentially dangerous levels of debt, largely from Chinese lenders. And, once the highways are built, maintaining them will be another massive undertaking, particularly in countries like Mali, Chad and Sudan who are all dealing with violent insurgencies.

In this week's show, Cobus discusses his recent essay on how, despite the enormous challenges, China may actually help African states along this east-west corridor to achieve this long held dream of building a transport link.

Join the discussion. Do you think it's worth the risk to try and build this trans-Africa highway or should these governments avoid taking on yet more Chinese debt? Let us know what you think.


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