China has said it will cancel the debt of the relevant African countries in the form of interest-free government loans, which are due to be repaid by the end of 2020.
China’s Consul General in Lagos, Chu Maoming, who revealed this in an article provided to our correspondent on Monday, said the plan was announced by Chinese President XI Jinping during the recent emergency Sino-African solidarity summit against COVID-19 in Beijing.
The envoy quoted President XI as saying at the summit that China will work with the world community to provide greater support to “those African countries that have been most affected by the Coronavirus and are under severe financial stress.”
This support will include a further extension of the debt suspension period to help them overcome their current difficulties.
Nigeria is one of the African countries that is indebted to China, but it is unclear whether this country will benefit from debt relief.
The country’s total borrowing from China was $ 3.12 billion (N1.13tn) as of March 31, 2020, the debt management Authority said last week.
The DMO said this amount represents 3.94% of Nigeria’s total public debt of $79.30 billion (N28.63tn) as of March 31, adding that it represents 11.28% of the country’s total external debt of $27.67 billion.
Maoming said the President stressed the need for China and Africa to remain committed to jointly fighting COVID-19, strengthening Sino-African cooperation, maintaining multilateralism and advancing Sino-African friendship.
“Joint efforts in these areas will demonstrate the firm determination of both sides to defeat COVID-19 with solidarity and cooperation, point the way forward for responding to epidemics and practical cooperation between China and Africa, and chart the course for the future of China-Africa relations,” he said.
The envoy said Chinese and African leaders agreed at the summit to step up joint efforts to fight the disease and build a China-Africa health community for all.
- In the midst of China’s fight against the virus, African countries gave it invaluable moral and material support.
“In the same spirit, China has provided and will continue to provide full support to African countries in the fight against COVID-19, including by sending supplies and medical expert teams, as well as speeding up the construction of the CDC headquarters in Africa.
“China has promised that once its development and implementation of the COVID-19 vaccine is complete, African countries will be among the first to benefit from it.”
Maoming said China will also increase support for African countries and heavily indebted poor countries based on the G20 initiative to suspend debt servicing.
He said: “in order to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on China-Africa cooperation, the two sides agreed to strengthen the belt and road cooperation and follow-up to the Beijing focas summit, with a greater focus on cooperation in public health, economic recovery and people’s livelihoods, as well as to deepen cooperation in areas such as trade, communications and the digital economy.
“These initiatives and proposals meet the common need of China and Africa to coordinate the COVID-19 response and economic and social development, and will play an exemplary role at the international level.”
The envoy said the summit once again demonstrated the strong mutual support that underpins China-Africa relations.