Business Journal


China Waives Debt for 17 African Countries


A report by Quartz Africa says that China has provided some financial relief to 17 African countries this week by waiving debt on 23 interest-free loans that were due in 2021.
China is Africa’s second biggest lender. The debt decision signals the Asian power’s intention to remain Africa’s preferred long-term development partner, especially “in the face of the various forms of hegemonic and bullying practices,” as Wang Yi, China’s foreign minister, said in what may have been a veiled reference to the recent contentious visit by US House of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan.
The relief was announced on Aug. 18 in an address to Chinese and African diplomats at a meeting meant to follow up on the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation held last November in Senegal. At the time, China reduced its financial pledge to Africa by 33%, which was interpreted as a sign of concern for Africa’s indebtedness at a time of slowing Chinese economic growth.
While specific details of the debt relief were not disclosed, China’s top diplomat appeared to criticize the US and Europe’s sanctions against Russia in its ongoing war in Ukraine. Yi said 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 gains.”
Some African leaders, especially in those francophone countries demanding an end to France’s influence in the region, will likely have found themselves nodding along Yi’s words. —Alexander Onukwue, west Africa correspondent



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