The Chinese government has reiterated its position on easing Africa’s debt to help the continent’s nations ease their burden and shore up their economies.
The remarks come barely a week after Chinese Ambassador to Malawi Long Zhou and Minister of Finance Sosten Gwengwe signed a $5 million partial debt cancellation facility for Malawi.
Speaking during a press conference on Saturday, ahead of the National People’s Congress (NPC) annual session in Beijing, the session’s spokesperson, Young Chao, also dismissed claims that his country is in the business of creating “debt traps”.
He indicated that, according to World Bank statistics, three quarters of Africa’s debt is to multilateral financial institutions and commercial banks and not China.
“China has been working hard to help Africa ease the debt burden and has taken an active part in the debt service suspension initiative under the G20 as well as handling individual cases,” Wang told local and international journalists that attended the conference.
Nevertheless, he highlighted the need for China and Europe to work on two-way investments and join hands in tackling challenges besetting the world.
Wang added that, this far, there are no fundamental strategic disagreements between the two sides.
The 14th NPC, which is China’s top legislature, opened its first session on Sunday and is expected to come to an end on March 13 this year, having brought together 2,977 deputies.
Agendas during the session include a review of annual work reports of the central government, the Supreme People’s Court and the NPC Standing Committee.
According to Wang, the deputies to the NPC are from diversified districts, sectors and ethnic groups, with people from the grassroots taking a great share of the list.
Speaking to journalists in Malawi last week, during the signing of the partial debt cancellation, the Chinese Ambassador to Malawi disclosed that his country had waived 23 interest-free loans for 17 African countries.
As at December 2021, the People’s Republic of China was Malawi’s fourth top external creditor, owed about $249.23 million.
The country has been assisting African countries with several development projects both in the form of loans and grants.
Since establishing diplomatic ties with Malawi, China has funded remarkable development projects in Malawi.
The projects include the Karonga-Chitipa Road, Bingu National Stadium, the Parliament Building in Lilongwe and the Malawi University of Science and Technology in Thyolo District.
Mathews Kasanda is a journalist who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from University of Malawi (The Polytechnic).
In 2015, Media Institute of Southern Africa awarded him the Best Print Media Education Journalist of the Year accolade.
He joined Times Group Newsroom in September 2019.