NPC spokesperson refutes Western claims of 'Chinese debt trap' in Africa
Published: Mar 04, 2023 05:12 PM
This photo taken on May 8, 2022 shows a section of the Nairobi Expressway built by China Road and Bridge Corporation in Nairobi, Kenya. Photo:Xinhua

This photo taken on May 8, 2022 shows a section of the Nairobi Expressway built by China Road and Bridge Corporation in Nairobi, Kenya. Photo:Xinhua

China has never attached any political conditions, nor has it sought any political self-interest, the country is willing to continue to promote the high-quality joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) for further development, Wang Chao, a spokesperson for the first session of the 14th National People's Congress (NPC), China's national legislature, said on Saturday.

Wang made the remarks at a press conference when asked for comment following some countries questioning whether China's cooperation with nations along the BRI has created increased debt risks, in addition to attacking China's so-called ineffective debt relief in Africa.

Some countries say that China has created several "debt traps" in Africa, so we can take a look at what the statistics of international organizations say, Wang said. According to the statistics from the World Bank and other international organizations, China is not the largest creditor of African debts. The claims held by multilateral financial institutions and commercial creditors account for nearly 3/4 of Africa's overall external debts, and they really account for the bulk of Africa's debts, Wang added.

China has always been committed to helping Africa ease its debt pressure, and actively participated in the G20 debt service suspension initiative. China is the country that has allowed for the largest levels of debt suspension among the G20 members, Wang said.

China's Foreign Ministry also said that China takes the debt issue of developing countries seriously and has actively contributed to alleviating developing countries' debt burden and promoting their sustainable development. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said on Tuesday that "we are ready to work with the rest of the international community to continue to provide necessary support to the real difficulties of relevant countries to the best of our capacity."

"We also call on developed countries and international multilateral financial institutions to take stronger actions in providing financial support to Africa to help it achieve sustainable development," Mao said.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the proposal of the BRI. Official data showed that by mid-February this year, China had signed cooperation agreements with 151 countries and 32 international organizations, with its annual trade value with countries along the Belt and Road almost doubling between 2013 and 2022.

Practical cooperation across nations participating in the BRI has continued to make a positive contribution to the development of the economy, employment, and improved living standards in various countries. It has become a popular international public good and international cooperation platform, Wang said at the press conference.

"China continues to promote the high-quality joint construction of BRI for new development," Wang added.