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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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Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.



Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.

Method Media Bermuda will present the documentary FABRIC: Portuguese History in Bermuda on Thursday, December 29 at the Underwater Research Institute of Bermuda.

A spokesperson said: “Method Media is proud to bring Bermuda Fabric: Portugal History to Bermuda for its 5th and 6th showing at the Bermuda Underwater Observatory. In November and December 2019, Cloth: A Portuguese Story in Bermuda had four sold-out screenings. Now that Bermuda has reopened after the pandemic, it’s time to bring the film back for at least two screenings.

“There are tickets For $ 20 – sessions at 15:30 and 18:00. Both screenings will be followed by a short Q&A session.

Director and producer Milton Raboso says, “FABRIC is a definitive account of the Portuguese community in Bermuda and its 151 years of history, but it also places Bermuda, Acors and Portugal in the world history and the events that have fueled those 151 years.

“It took more than 10 years to implement FABRIC. The film was supported by the Minister of Culture, the Government of the Azores and private donors.

Bermuda Media Method [MMB] Created in 2011 by producer Milton Raposo. MMB has created content for a wide range of clients: Bermuda’s new hospital renovation, reinsurance, travel campaigns, international sports and more. MMB pays special attention to artistic, cultural and historical content.

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Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.



Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.

Maestro Filipe Cunha, Artistic Director of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Braga, has been invited to conduct the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra, as announced today.

According to a statement sent by O MINHO, “he will be the first Portuguese conductor to conduct this orchestra in its entire history.”

In addition to this orchestra, the maestro will also work with the Lyceo Mozarteum de la Habana Symphony Orchestra.

The concerts will take place on 4 and 12 March 2023 at the National Theater of Cuba in Havana.

In the words of the maestro, quoted in the statement, “these will be very beautiful concerts with difficult but very complex pieces” and therefore he feels “very motivated”.

From the very beginning, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 will be performed by an Italian pianist (Luigi Borzillo), whom the maestro wants to bring to Portugal later this year. In the same concert, Mendelshon’s First Symphony will be performed.

Then, at the second concert, in the company of the Mexican clarinetist Angel Zedillo, he will perform the Louis Sfora Concerto No. 2. In this concert, the maestro also conducts Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony.

“This is an international recognition of my work. An invitation that I accept with humility and great responsibility. I was surprised to learn that I would be the first Portuguese member of the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra. This is a very great honor,” the maestro said in a statement.

“I take with me the name of the city of Braga and Portugal with all the responsibility that goes with it, and I hope to do a good job there, leaving a good image and putting on great concerts. These will be very special concerts because, in addition to performing pieces that I love, especially Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky, I will be directing two wonderful soloists who are also my friends. It will be very beautiful,” concludes Filipe Cunha.

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