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Malawi to miss China debt relief

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The Chinese government is expected to announce a write off of some outstanding interest free-loans of some struggling landlocked countries and small islands but Malawi will not be among beneficiaries as its US$8 million interest free loan was only signed off last year.

Political Counsellor at Chinese Embassy to Malawi, Lai Xing, said this in Lilongwe during a press briefing on the forth coming China-Africa Summit to take place in South Africa. He said that the debt cancellation will be made after a decade.

“China shall call off all the debt of outstanding intergovernmental interest free loans due by end of 2015 for all the least developed countries,” said Lai.

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However, the Ministry of Finance’s spokesperson Nations Msowoya said Malawi signed US$8 million interest free loan with China last year but is yet to access the funds.

The other loans are concessional with low interest rates and are not applicable for the debt relief and include US$80 million for the Malawi University of Science and Technology, US$110 million for Bingu International Conference Centre and the US$60 million BinguNational Stadium.

According to Lai, China will establish a US$2 billion South- South Cooperation Fund to be accessed by African countries for implementing the Sustainable Development Agenda. He further said his government plans to increase annual aid to Africa to US$12 billion by 2030.

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On infrastructure, Lai said his government is still committed to assist countries like Malawi improve infrastructure development which he said is critical to the economic development of any country.

The Chinese government has so far assisted in the construction of Karonga-Chitipa Road and has just committed to finance a modern airport at Chileka with multi terminal building in Blantyre.

China recently committed to finance over US$1.8 billion development projects in Malawi including rehabilitation of Chileka Airport, 300 megawatts Kamwamba coal fired power project and a dual carriage highway in Lilongwe, among others.

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