China’s most recent ambitious project, Belt and Road Initiative, have seen the middle kingdom investing trillion dollar in infrastructure development and investments in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East in order to ‘enhance regional connectivity’.
Hong Kong based SCMP have reported that critics had questioned the economic logic of burdening poorer countries with outstanding debts but China is said to have refuted the charges by saying that no country suffers by cooperation with China.
Oxford China Africa Consultancy and the Beijing-based group Development Reimagined had conducted a study and found that China have written-off loans worth 9.8 billion USD since 2000 to countries that have difficulty repaying loans.
In Africa alone, China is reported to have written-off 2.2 billion USD, with East African region receiving half of the said amount. In 2018, China is also reported to have written-off the interest free loans that Ethiopia owed. It has also extended the repayment tenure for the 3.3 billion USD that Ethiopia had taken to build the Addis-Djibouti railway line.
China had reportedly cancelled Cameroon’s debt of 78 million USD debt this year and had also written off Botswana’s debt of USD 7.2 million and Lesotho’s debt of USD 10.6 million in 2018. In 2017, it is said to have cancelled 160 million USD of debts owed by Sudan.