Unpublished. August 18, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi announced that Beijing was preparing to cancel 23 interest-free loans, which expired at the end of 2021, and granted to 17 African countries.
China, which has communicated neither the amount nor the list of countries concerned, is the first bilateral creditor of several Africans. Among them: Djibouti (55% of the country’s debt stock is Chinese), the DRC (42%), Angola (34%), Guinea (32%), the Comoros (31%), Cameroon ( 29%), Zambia (25%) and Togo (24%). In total, more than 150 billion dollars have been lent since the beginning of the 2000s par China, mainly through its development banks, China Eximbank (60%) and China Development Bank (25%).
Debt: who are Africa’s creditors?
A colossal sum, granted in the form of loans on terms deemed opaque by some experts. This has earned Beijing criticism, especially from Western countries, which regularly warn against the “Chinese debt trap”. During his African tour, Antony Blinken did not fail to insist on the subject.
“Cold War Mentality”
Charges that Beijing refutes with words, and now with deeds. According to Wang Yi, between 2000 and 2019, his country had already written off some $3.4 billion in debt and restructured about another $15 billion in debt, including $5.7 billion under the debt relief plan. of the G20 for poor countries.
Speaking at a press conference on the same day, Chinese Foreign Ministry (MFA) spokesman Wang Wenbin insisted Westerners’ “accusations” were “baseless”. and that they are “used [notamment] by the United States and other officials to reject their [propres] responsibilities”. And to add that “the loans granted by China had fixed interest rates and lower than the commercial rates and the loans granted by the African Development Bank (BAD), whose rates are generally between 4 and 10%. »
African debt: how to get out of the rut
The Chinese official also condemned the West’s “zero-sum Cold War mentality”, and proposed the establishment of a model based on “multi-stakeholder cooperation with Africa that brings win-win results. “.
“Mutually Beneficial Cooperation”
In addition to debt cancellation, the Chinese foreign minister said that Beijing will increase its involvement in Africa and provide additional food, economic and military aid, while maintaining its support for the African Union (AU) in the efforts of the latter to join the G20.
“We will continue to increase imports from Africa, support greater development of the agricultural and manufacturing sectors [des économies du continent]and expand cooperation in emerging industries such as digital economy, healthcare, green and low-carbon sectors,” he said.
In recent months, Beijing has reached agreements with 12 mainland countries to remove tariffs on 98% of the products they export to China, which will increase the competitiveness of African products. At the same time, an additional $2.17 billion has been invested by Chinese companies in Africa, and $2 billion of the $10 billion pledged for trade has already summer engaged.
$2bn+ of the $10bn trade finance promised by China arranged.
$70.6bn of goods imported from Africa in the past 7 months.
Exchange of letters with 12 African countries on 98% of products export with zero tariff.
Additional $2.17bn invested by Chinese enterprises in Africa.
— Chinese Mission to UN (@Chinamission2un) August 18, 2022
The William and Mary Institute report “Banking on the Belt and Road”, published on September 27, 2021, indicates that 385 billion dollars (330 billion euros) of “hidden” debt was not appearing in the system statement from the World Bank. In all, 26 African States would be indirectly debtors.