Too much debt? China’s foreign investments weigh heavy on borrowers.

A dozen poor countries are facing economic instability and even collapse because of a common, undeniable factor: their struggle to pay back hundreds of billions of dollars in foreign loans, much of them from the world’s biggest and most unforgiving government lender, China.

Here are the key takeaways:

Too much debt

An analysis by The Associated Press of a dozen countries most indebted to China – including Pakistan, Kenya, Zambia, and Laos – found the debt is consuming an ever-greater amount of tax revenue needed to keep schools open, provide electricity, and pay for food and fuel. And it’s draining the foreign currency reserves such economies depend upon to pay interest on the loans and stave off collapse, leaving some with just months before the money is gone.

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