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According to senior Chinese officials, China’s debt in Africa is not a trap

A group photograph with Chinese President Xi Jinping and African leaders attending the Forum on China-African Cooperation in Beijing, China, Monday September 3, 2018.
  • China has re-iterated that its debt to Africa is not a trap.
  • This stance was disclosed by Mr. Wang Chao, the spokesperson for the 14th National People's Congress (NPC).
  • He notes that Chinese loans to Africa are intended for development. 

Senior Chinese authorities have continued to defend their stance on Africa's debt trap, insisting that they are not deliberately setting a debt trap for African countries. This point was re-iterated as the country approaches the 10th anniversary of its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

The BRI, proposed by China in 2013, entails infrastructure development, trade and investment liberalization, and people-to-people interactions with the goal of enhancing connectivity on a transcontinental scale.

In a press conference held on the 4th of March 2023, Mr. Wang Chao, the spokesperson for the 14th National People's Congress (NPC), defended the BRI ahead of the start of China's two sessions (the annual plenary meetings of the National People's Congress, the national legislature, and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference) (the national political advisory body).

Former Chinese deputy minister of foreign affairs Mr. Chao stated that the BRI cooperation agreement has been signed by more than 150 nations and more than 30 international organizations and that this has had a good impact on the economy, employment, and welfare of the populace.

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“The BRI program does not aim to gain its own political interests.” And even in the so-called “debt trap,” if you look at the data from international institutions, you will find that this thing does not exist.” the former deputy minister noted.

“According to the World Bank, China is not Africa’s biggest creditor, and almost three-quarters of Africa’s debt is from financial institutions and commercial banks,” he added.

He also mentioned that China has been working hard to assist African nations to lessen their debt loads by delaying debt payments for a while, particularly when the nation is going through economic difficulties.

He declared that China is prepared to discuss the BRI's accomplishments and lessons learned with its allies, plan for the future, and improve the already-existing collaboration at the highest levels.

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