Beijing offers Africa $40b as it denies creating debt trap

Saturday January 08 2022
President Uhuru Kenyatta and Mr Wang Yi

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Mr Wang Yi, China’s State Counsellor and Minister for Foreign Affairs, tour the new offshore Kipevu Oil Terminal in Mombasa. PHOTO | PSCU


China has promised $40 billion in financing Africa economic growth this year as it defends itself from claims that its lending of money to Africa is creating a debt trap.

Beijing has said Africa should be a big stage for international co-operation rather than an arena for games between superpowers.

Speaking in Mombasa, Chinese top diplomat Wang Yi said those spreading false information about China’s supposedly trapping of poor African countries with debt are only out to destroy the country’s relations with African states.

“This is a narrative, so called debt trap created by some great nations, those who don’t want to see developments in Africa. If there is any trap, it is about poverty and underdevelopment. Those spreading the false narrative don’t want to see Africa rising,” Mr Wang said during the signing of six bilateral agreements between Kenya and China.

Bilateral support

The diplomat said China would work with other Africa-friendly countries to contribute to independent and sustainable development.


“Our commitment is to be Africa’s good friend and partner. Our bilateral relationship has become a fine example of solidarity, co-operation and common development between China and Africa. We will continue to support each other,” he added.

His visit, which saw him tour Eritrea and Comoros, comes at a time when Beijing is in the eye of the storm over its “potential takeover’’ of key African infrastructure due to debt distress by several governments.

Healthy competition

“If there must be some competition let us compete for who does more for Africa. Let us compete for who contributes more for Africa’s development,” Mr Wang said.

“As a friend of Africa, China will never sit idle. The vaccines will be delivered in every corner of Africa where there is a need. In the face of various acts of power politics, China and Africa will defend international justice and fairness,” he added.

The Chinese official also held a meeting with President Uhuru Kenyatta, where the two governments “reaffirmed their partnerships in trade and infrastructure.”

In the talks, Kenya sought to export avocado and aquatic products while China intends to continue donating rice to the East African country for humanitarian aid.

The two countries signed six trade agreements and promised to form a joint working group to address trade barriers and reduce trade imbalances.