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Foreign Minister Ayorkor Botchwey pleads moratorium on Chinese debt repayment

BY: Kate Baaba Hudson

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey (MP) has called on China to consider giving African countries at least five years moratorium on loan repayment.

She said this will provide the beneficiary countries some fiscal space as well as allow the projects to fully mature into self-financing and self-sustaining ones.

The Minister, who made the proposal on loan repayment, said the measure will also address the growing concern of debt sustainability in Africa.

She was addressing a dialogue with executives of major Chinese financial institutions and heads of African delegations attending the Coordinators’ Meeting on the implementation of the follow-up actions of the Beijing Summit of the Forum for China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Beijing, China.

The dialogue was to brief member countries on what has been achieved in terms of fund disbursement, afford beneficiary countries better access to China’s financing tools to boost economic development.

Ms Botchwey stated, “To ensure sustainability of our debts, Ghana wishes to propose that China may consider increasing the tenure of loan repayment for key infrastructure projects from about 15 to 20 years to 20 to30 years”.

Nine speakers from Chinese financial institutions called for strengthened cooperation in financial fields and the constant upgrade of the levels of cooperation.

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The speakers were optimistic that using China’s experiences, technologies and support funds alongside its abundant resources could help the African continent to better the lot of its citizenry.

They all promised the continued commitment of the financial institutions to provide sustainable funding to African countries, while developing more products that are based on experiences of the Chinese, combined with specific situations in the various member countries.

Meanwhile, Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan has called on China and Africa to build consensus and strengthen cooperation for the successful implementation of the outcomes of the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation.

President Wang Qishan was speaking at a group meeting with the heads of African delegations ahead of the Coordinators’ Meeting on the implementation of the follow-up actions of the Beijing Summit of the FOCAC.

The meeting comes nearly a year after the Beijing Summit which rolled out major initiatives on infrastructure connectivity, trade facilitation, industrial promotion, health care, capacity building, people-to-people exchanges as well as peace and security.

Describing the meeting as a milestone marking China-Africa relations, H.E Wang Qishan urged both sides to push the China-Africa strategic partnership of cooperation to a higher level, building a closer China-Africa Community with a shared future.

In 2018, China development Bank alone provided 60 billion USD in financing by year ending to nearly 500 projects in 43 African countries across various sectors which included infrastructure and agriculture.

Trade between China and Africa reached a little over 204 billion USD last year, making China Africa’s largest trading partner for ten straight years.