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Angola Gets Some Badly-Needed “Breathing Space” From China on Debt Repayments

File image of Chinese President Xi Jinping and Angola's President Joao Lourenco during a welcome ceremony outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on October 9, 2018. GREG BAKER / AFP

Chinese creditors have reportedly agreed to grant Angola a three-year debt repayment moratorium, according to the West African country’s finance minister Vera Daves de Sousa.

Angola is by far China’s largest borrower in Africa with an estimated $20 billion of outstanding loans from the China Development Bank, China Exim Bank, and ICBC among others. The country’s economy has been badly wounded by the COVID-19-induced economic downturn and the accompanying drop in global oil prices that made it all but impossible for Angola to service its debts.

Reaching an agreement with Chinese creditors clears the path for the IMF to step in with assistance as well. The IMF’s Executive Board met yesterday and approved a $487.5 million disbursement for Angola, less than the $700 million Daves de Sousa had expected.

“We’ve got three years of breathing space and we will take the best advantage of that,” said the finance minister in an interview with Reuters.

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