China has called on the US to make more significant efforts to resolve debt issues faced by African countries, following allegations by Washington that Beijing was hindering financial relief on the continent.
Speaking in the Chinese capital on Monday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin dismissed accusations that his country was responsible for a debt trap in Africa, arguing instead that China had always engaged with African nations based on mutual benefit and equality.
Wang accused “some Western politicians” of attempting to sabotage China’s cooperation with developing countries.
“Their tricks have been seen through by developing countries and the international community, and there is no market for them,” the official told reporters.
China has been a major source of lending for African countries, but its loaning practices have been called into question as countries including Ghana and Zambia struggle to repay their debts.
While Beijing has defended its loans as necessary for economic development in the region, some have raised concerns about the impact on the recipient economies. In a recent interview, World Bank President David Malpass claimed that the terms and conditions of some of China’s loans needed to be clearer.
What I encourage strongly is that they be transparent in their contracts. That’s been one of the problems; if you write a contract and say, ‘but don’t show it to anybody else’, that’s a minus. So get away from that,” Malpass told the media.
Wang noted on Monday, however, that the US is the largest shareholder in the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The two organizations account for nearly 70% of the total debt held by multilateral financial institutions. The Chinese diplomat also stated that financial capital from the US and Europe is the most significant commercial creditor of African countries, meaning Washington faces an “unshirkable responsibility” to participate in solving debt issues.
“We urge the US side to earnestly shoulder its responsibilities and make greater efforts to promote the substantive participation of multilateral financial institutions and commercial creditors in addressing Africa’s debt issue,” Wang said.