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Debt burden: China to provide debt forgiveness to 17 African countries, Likely beneficiaries emerge

China is pledging to forgive about 23 matured interest-free loans for 17 countries in Africa.

Chinese foreign minister, Wang Yi said this during an address at Forum China-Africa Cooperation and said the gesture is a demonstration aimed at fostering a stronger economic bond with Africa.

The foreign minister stated that this shows how much the Chinese government keeps its words on African development with tangible action.

READ ALSO: Be careful while moving round Africa – China warns citizens

The 17 countries which are eligible for debt forgiveness were not named but Business Insider cites Djibouti, Angola, the DRC, Kenya and Uganda are touted to be among countries with high debt exposure to China.

According to the address by Yi, there are other specific ways China wants to aid Africa to support it going forward.

The Asian giant will continue to support Africa’s effort to upgrade its infrastructure by providing financing and investment assistance under the Chinese government’s transcontinental Belt and Road Initiative.

The country will also provide emergency food assistance to 17 countries in Africa which are in critical need this year.

The statement also said that China will expand its imports from Africa by supporting the continent’s agricultural and manufacturing sectors, and expanding cooperation in emerging industries like the digital economy, and health, green and low-carbon sectors.

Also, the country said it re-channel $10 billion of its Special Drawing Rights SDR to Africa via the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

There have been reports that many African countries owe three times more debts to banks in the West, oil traders and asset managers than to Chinese banks.


As you may know, there is a widely-held perspective about China’s alleged debt traps in Africa. In the same vein, there is the narrative that many African countries are indebted to China.