China cancels $28m of DR Congo debt to help virus fight

Friday January 08 2021
DR Congo.

A view of the main highway in the city centre of DR Congo capital Kinshasa. PHOTO | AFP


China has cancelled a part of the debt owed by DR Congo to help the sub-Saharan giant fight the coronavirus epidemic, the Congolese presidency said on Thursday.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi made the gesture to put 180 million yuan ($28 million) back into government coffers during a visit to the country this week.

Wang also offered a further $15 million to support wider development efforts.

China is a major investor in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and researchers from Johns Hopkins University in the US have estimated that Chinese entities have extended more than $2.4 billion in loans over the past two decades.

"The cancellation of the debt should enable the DRC to fight effectively against the Covid-19 pandemic," the Congolese presidency said in a press release. 

Since the first coronavirus cases were detected on March 10, DR Congo has officially registered 18,738 cases and 610 deaths.