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China Offers Debt Relief, But Most African Countries Borrow Elsewhere

Chinese President Xi Jinping promised Monday to cancel debt for some of Africa’s least-developed countries. Erasing debt tied to interest-free loans has long been a part of China’s policies in Africa.  But the announcement, made at Xi’s opening speech at the 2018 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, or FOCAC, comes amid growing concern over China’s lending practices, which some have deemed “debt-trap diplomacy.” Yet Chinese loans make up just a small portion of Africa’s debt, W. Gyude Moore, a visiting fellow at the Center for Global Development, told VOA. Moore is Liberia’s former minister of public works and focuses on infrastructure financing in Africa. He put the continent’s total debt burden at about $6 trillion, most of which is owed to organizations such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Paris Club of mostly Western creditor countries. He said Chinese loans make up just two percent of all...

 

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