7 March 2018

Africa: China Slaps Down U.S. Claim That It's Pushing Africa Into Debt

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In response to US acting assistant Secretary of State for Africa Donald Yamamoto's assertion that China is pushing African countries into unrepayable debt, China counters that it attaches high importance to Africa's debt sustainability. By PETER FABRICIUS.

Beijing has flatly rejected the US claim that China is pushing African countries into unrepayable debt by giving them too many low-interest loans.

A spokesperson from China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs was reacting to remarks by acting assistant Secretary of State for Africa Donald Yamamoto. During a briefing on Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's current visit to Africa, Yamamoto said the US would soon invite China to a meeting in Washington to discuss China's role in Africa.

He expressed concern that African countries were getting themselves into irredeemable debt through low-interest - in fact, concessionary - loans. He said 50% of these came from China. Yamamoto raised the spectre of the debt traps which many African countries fell into about 12 years ago, when the international community had to forgive billions of dollars of debt.

The Beijing official reacted by saying,

"This statement is completely inconsistent with the fact. Presently, the debt owed by some African countries was accumulated over a long period...

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