International

China forgives debt owed by 17 African nations

China, the largest bilateral lender in Africa, claims to have forgiven 23 interest-free loans that were due in 2021 that were owing by 17 African nations. In a meeting last week at a Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, Foreign Minister Wang Yi announced the debt cancellations, according to a post on the website of the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

While it didn’t say how much the loans were worth or which countries owed the money, it did say that they will mature at the end of 2021.

An address to Chinese and African diplomats at a follow-up conference for the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, held in Senegal in November, contained a similar declaration from the previous year.

China appeared to be concerned about Africa’s debt to it and the faltering Chinese economy by reducing its pledge to Africa at that summit by 33 percent.

According to sources, China has cancelled debt related to $113.8 million in interest-free loans for 15 African nations, including Botswana, Burundi, Rwanda, Cameroon, the DRC, and Mozambique, that were due to mature in 2020.

African nations’ steadfast adherence to the one-China concept and your steadfast support of China’s efforts to protect sovereignty, security, and territorial integrity are much appreciated by China, Yi said.

The Foundiougne Bridge, which opened in Senegal this year, and the Nairobi Expressway in Kenya, as well as emergency food assistance to Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Eritrea, are just a few examples of infrastructure and humanitarian investments funded by China that have been made in Africa. He also emphasized other political points of agreement between China and Africa.

The China Africa Research Initiative’s (CARI) database reveals that between 2000 and 2020, Chinese financiers and African governments signed over 1,180 loan pledges totaling $160 billion, with two-thirds going to projects related to mining, power, and transportation.

In terms of dollar amounts, Angola, Zambia, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Cameroon have borrowed the most from China.

Yi promised to increase Chinese imports from Africa and promote a “Great Green Wall” to fight climate change. He also promised to provide food aid to 17 countries. He also reaffirmed a fundamental principle of the parties’ interactions: “China will continue to support resolving African issues in an African manner. We oppose outside parties interfering in the internal affairs of African nations and encouraging war there.

Yi also stated that Africa wants “a favorable and amicable cooperation environment, not the zero-sum Cold War mentality…mutually beneficial cooperation for the greater well-being of the people, not major-country rivalry for geopolitical reasons,” in an apparent criticism of the US and Europe’s motivations for sanctions against Russia in its ongoing war in Ukraine.

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