China's Foreign Ministry refutes Western claims of 'Chinese debt trap' in Africa
Published: Aug 18, 2022 07:06 PM
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin Photo: VCG

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin Photo: VCG

A spokesperson for China's Foreign Ministry on Thursday slammed baseless and irresponsible claims of "Chinese debt trap" in Africa, providing a list of data to show the win-win nature of China-Africa cooperation and criticizing Western officials and media for seeking to drive a wedge between China and other developing nations by hyping a false claim.

Asked about claims of "Chinese debt trap" pushed by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken during a trip to Africa, Wang Wenbin, the spokesperson, said at a regular press conference on Thursday that such claims are baseless and are used by US and other Western officials to shift responsibility.

Data from the World Bank showed that by the end of 2020, the number of commercial creditors and multilateral creditors accounted 40 percent and 34 percent respectively in 82 low- and medium-income countries' external debts, and the bilateral creditors accounted 26 percent, with China accounting for less than 10 percent, said Wang. 

The World Bank's data also showed that in the newly-added $475.2 billion of external debt in low-and medium-income countries between 2015 and 2020, commercial debt from global financial market accounted 39 percent, said Wang, quoting a European Network on Debt and Development's survey, which showed that 95 percent of sovereign debt in 31 in-debt countries was held by financial firms in Western countries. 

In the next seven years, low-and medium-income countries need to repay $940 billion debt, according to World Bank estimate. Among them, 67 percent will flow to Western financial firms and creditors, only 14 percent will flow to China with about $130.8 billion, according to the World Bank.

In addition, Wang suggested that China issued loans have fixed and lower interest rates than the 5-percent commercial rate, and the 4 to 10-percent rate of 10-year- sovereign debt issued by African Development Bank. Countries' repaying pressure to become heavier as the US entered into a prior of rising interests rates, said Wang. 

Wang also noted that China has been actively working to help reduce debt repayment burdens on developing countries, including fully implementing the G20 debt service suspension initiative. In comparison, Western creditors and multilateral institutions, which hold greater proportion of developing countries' debt, refuse to participate in the initiative, he said.

The spokesperson said that certain Western officials and media's attempt to hype the "Chinese debt trap" claims to undermine cooperation between China and other developing countries will not fool intelligent people in those developing countries.

Global Times