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China Xi Jinping promises to write off some of Africa’s debt

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China will free certain African countries from interest-free loans due at the end of this year, President Xi Jinping the word Wednesday night. He spoke at a summit about how China and Africa could fight a joint pandemic.

Xi did not say which African countries would be released or how much debt would be written off directly.

By independent estimates, African countries owe a substantial debt of gratitude to China. About 20% of the African government’s foreign debt owes to China in 2018, according to estimates from Jubilee Debt Campaign, a UK-based charity group advocating debt cancellation for poor countries.
Chinese lenders signed loans worth $ 152 billion to African countries from 2000 to 2018, according to a separate report published Thursday by the Africa Africa Research Initiative (SEARCH), a research program at Johns Hopkins University’s Advanced International Study School.

“The world is undergoing a great change that has not been seen in a century,” Xi said. “Given the new opportunities and challenges we face, closer cooperation between China and Africa is needed more than ever.”

A small portion of African debt

The Chinese leader also promised that his country would offer “greater support” to African countries which had been hit hardest by the virus or under financial pressure. He suggested that China could give the country more time to pay off other debts, for example.

Xi’s announcement came as the coronavirus pandemic caused great difficulties in some of the most backward countries in the world, including in Africa – and pressure was building creditors to intervene. The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, for example, have asked creditors to postpone debt payments from Africa as a way to support some of the continent’s poorest countries as they wrestle with the effects of the plague.

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But analysts have pointed out that interest-free loans comprise only a small portion of the debt of African countries that owe to China. The SEARCH report sets a total of under 5%.

In the early 2000s, such arrangements “formed a significant percentage of Chinese loans,” the report said. “However, when other sources of financing from China began to increase … [interest-free loans] into smaller and smaller proportions of total Chinese loans to Africa. “

Canceling African debt is also nothing new for China. China canceled at least $ 3.4 billion of African debt from 2000 and 2019, according to SEARCH – mostly in interest-free foreign aid loans that have defaulted.

But “most” loans are Chinese Recent expansion into Africa – including soft and commercial loans – has never been considered for cancellation, the report added.

Important allies

Xi’s announcement may be more about politics than about forgiving a large amount of debt. The President has entered the last few weeks have made the preservation of the country’s diplomatic relations in Africa a major foreign policy strategy, as it has faced it a backlash among several Western democracies over the handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

China, meanwhile, has seen Africa as an ally since the Cold War, and the two have become closer in the past two decades – mainly through foreign trade and investment. The value of bilateral trade has doubled since 2000, to around $ 209 billion in the year 2019, according to official Chinese statistics.
How China is slowly expanding its power in Africa, one TV set at a time
The alliance with Africa, too gave China a lot of influence on the continent, which has been willing to accept Chinese infrastructure investment and projects through the Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative. From 2014 to 2018, for example, Chinese foreign direct investment in Africa jumped 44% to $ 46 billion, according to the latest data from United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

Relations between China and Africa have not been completely smooth. In April, Africans in the southern city of Guangzhou told CNN that they had been driven from their homes by landlords and turned away from hotels when Chinese warnings of imported corona virus cases fueled anti-foreign sentiment. Chinese officials said at the time that the country “had no tolerance for words and discriminatory actions,” and that “China and African countries always support each other and always fight the virus together.”

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Economic challenges

And the decision to forgive debt comes at a challenging time for the Chinese economy, which shrank earlier this year for the first time in decades.

Recent data shows that recovery in China is slow. Last month, for example, exports fell because of coronavirus continue to hurt the country’s main trading partners, causing demand to decline. And the latest data on industrial production, investment activity and retail sales – all important barometers of the Chinese economy – has been underwhelming.
The Chinese economy is still struggling to recover from a pandemic

Even so, Xi said that strengthening the Belt and Road Initiative was important after the pandemic, and he stressed that China and Africa shared “longstanding friendships.”

“No matter how the international landscape can develop, China will never waver in its determination to pursue greater solidarity and cooperation with Africa,” Xi said, adding that Beijing would continue to supply medical supplies to African countries, helping them build homes sick and even made it possible for some countries to be among the first recipients of the Covid-19 vaccine, if China had done it.

– Jenni Marsh contributed to this report.

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Prize for the Portuguese. Andre Silva is Champions League Player of the Week

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Prize for the Portuguese.  Andre Silva is Champions League Player of the Week

BUTndre Silva won the competition and became the best player of the week in the Champions League, informed UEFAthis Thursday.

The former Porto striker scored in Jota’s 3-1 victory over Celtic Leipzig, scoring a brace in a match that was signed after his Portuguese compatriot equalized.

In addition, Andre Silva also provided the assist for Nkunku, scoring the first goal of this Wednesday’s game in which huge show of foreign fans.

In addition to the Leipzig striker, Di Maria (Juventus), Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund) and Di Lorenzo (Napoli) also fought in the fight for the prize, but it was the Portuguese who managed to smile after voting for the third round of the competition, the famous This Thursday is the fair.

Read also: Diogo Costa and Andre Silva named to Champions League Team of the Week

See also: Andre Silva among the nominees for the title of the best player of the week in the Champions League

See also: double dose. Andre Silva returned to celebrate and sentenced doubts

See also: Andre Silva took advantage of Hart’s colossal mistake and responded to Jota’s goal

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Eternal Portuguese deja vu – Renaissance

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Eternal Portuguese deja vu - Renaissance

At the end of the summer of 1972, exactly half a century ago, SEDES – Associação para o Desenvolvimento Económico e Social (the most famous reformist think tank during Marseilles) issued a document for the country entitled “Portugal: The country we are, the country we want to be “. The Marseille spring had already turned into autumn: Américo Thomas had just been re-elected, the colonial war had dragged on, repression had intensified, and an economic crisis was already brewing. Seeing the general frustration, and at the same time willing to go against it, the signatories of CEDES began by asking “Where will we be and how will we be in 1980?” to criticize the obstacles that overshadowed Portugal in the early 1970s.

Among the “problems that are getting worse without a solution”, emigration stood out, indicating the country’s inability to offer better living and working conditions to those who left; the growing inflationary process, reflected in the cost of living; the inevitability of economic integration in Europe when the country is not ready for international commercial competition; “disaggregation of regional economies” with “continuous depopulation of municipalities and regions” within the country; or “deterioration of public administration” when the government fails to promote a “prestigious, moralized, revitalized and efficient public sector”. “No one will have any difficulty,” continued the text, “to add to a new list of urgent questions that seriously endanger national life, about which much has been said and which, year after year, continue to wait for a sufficient solution.” Therefore, “the prevailing feeling in the country” in contemplation of the recent past and present could not but be “annoyance at urgent battles, the need for which was endlessly discussed, at decisions that were changed or postponed, and at rejected goals” or which were not clearly formulated ” .

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Between “untapped resources” and/or “lack of organizational and decision-making capacity” there was “widespread anxiety” stemming from the inevitable observation that “we are very far from the results that we could achieve thanks to the progress of the Portuguese and Portugal”. This was the macro goal of the reformist, humanist and liberalizing technocrats that SEDES brought together. “Ultimately,” they reminded Marcelo Cayetano, “the real obstacle can only be associated with the low political priority of economic and social development in our country.” So, in short, there was an urgent need to “radically change our economic, social and political way of life”, since “a national balance based on general anemia, repression and weakening of various participants” is unsustainable and pernicious.

SEDES did not know that the Estado Novo would fall in April 1974, that democracy would come in 1976, and Europe from the EEC (after EFTA) in 1986 of repression, finally gained the freedom that was discussed between the lines of the 1972 manifesto ., there would be conditions for solving (almost) all economic and social problems of development and cohesion.

Fifty years have passed since this manifesto, and almost the same number has already been in democracy. However, if we compare the above quotes with the Portuguese present, the feeling of deja vu is indescribable. SEDES wondered what the country would be like in 1980 and is wondering today (in its recent study “Ambition: Doubling GDP in 20 Years”) where we will be in 2040. It may be a replay of a sad fate: knowing (some) where to go, but never getting there!

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Algeria interested in Portuguese companies investing in renewable energy – Observer

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Algeria interested in Portuguese companies investing in renewable energy - Observer

Foreign Minister João Gomes Cravinho met this Wednesday with his Algerian counterpart Ramtan Lamamra, who expressed interest in Portuguese companies investing in Algeria’s solar and wind energy.

Speaking with Lusa, João Cravinho also said that for 2023 it was decided to hold a “high-level meeting chaired by the prime ministers” of the two countries, a meeting to be held in Algiers, in addition to the state visit of the President of Algeria. Algeria to Portugal.

The Portuguese foreign minister said today’s visit to Algeria, where he was with Ramtan Lamamra, whom he has known since 2005 when he was ambassador to Lisbon, is “based on old knowledge”, but also a visit to a country that “does not to be a neighbor”, shares “a lot of fears”. “Not being a neighboring country, it almost shares many concerns about the region, the Mediterranean, the European Union’s relationship with Africa and the Arab world. It was important for us to talk about what we can do together as part of the geopolitical and geo-economic transformation,” he explained.

João Cravinho stressed that the issue of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was a factor “which could not but be the subject of dialogue”, and also added that “geo-economic issues related to energy, renewable energy sources and the opportunities that come with the digital transition” also were on the table.

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“While Algeria is a major exporter of fossil fuels, it is also a country with huge potential in terms of solar and wind energy. We have very qualified companies in these areas, and the Algerian side has expressed interest in [ter] Portuguese investors in these areas,” the minister said.

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The official said that it would be a matter of working with the Portuguese Agency for Investment and Foreign Trade (AICEP), with the Secretary of State for Internationalization, as well as with a sectoral ministry, namely the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change. A “high-level meeting chaired by the prime ministers” of the two countries is scheduled for 2023, a meeting to be held in Algiers, in addition to the Algerian President’s state visit to Portugal.

“We have a very busy calendar between the two countries. Now we will try to organize a mixed commission, where technical specialists from both countries will gather,” he said, stressing that there are “14 legal documents that are practically finalized and will be signed” in 2023.

João Gomes Cravinho was on a visit to Algiers today to assess bilateral relations in the economic sphere, as well as in terms of cooperation, language and culture, and to discuss international issues.

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