During his five-nation Africa tour last week, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi did not focus much attention on the ongoing debt crisis in the handful of countries on the continent that have borrowed heavily from Chinese creditors. That was very disappointing to some observers, including Gyude Moore, the former Liberian public works minister who’s now a senior policy fellow at the Center for Global Development in Washington, D.C.
Moore periodically publishes thought-provoking short essays on Twitter about China-Africa relations, and on Monday he called on China to do more to help alleviate the ongoing economic crisis in Africa and to “step up” on the issue of debt.
Below are selected extracts from Moore’s 11-part Twitter thread:
Continuing a 30-year tradition, the Chinese Foreign Minister began his year with a trip to Africa. There is no better indication of the importance China attaches to its relationship with the continent.
Which is why it is so disappointing that very little of note was achieved. Up to now, Africa has suffered more from the economic fallout of the pandemic. Debt servicing and a liquidity crunch has backed us against the wall and one would have expected this to be addressed.
China’s role in Africa’s current debt crisis is limited to a few countries – but those few countries have such an outsized role in their sub-regions that any default event there could end up having a domino effect elsewhere in Africa.
As we embark on our integration project through the #AfCFTA with a weakened fiscal position because of COVID-19 we need our partners to step up where they wield the most influence, for China – that includes debt.
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