Chinese Foreign Policy

China’s debt relief for Africa: Emerging deliberations

The debt relief will be a long game between China and Africa, one where neither side is likely to come out pleased.

By Yun Sun
June 9, 2020

This article was originally published in Brookings.

After rounds of global calls for debt relief for Africa due to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the particularly vocal demand for China to take key steps as Africa’s largest single-state creditor, details regarding China’s debt relief plan have finally begun to emerge. While many questions on specific implementation plans remain elusive, the deliberations discussed below offer us a fairly decent overview of the Chinese plan.

China’s Official Frameworks for Debt Relief So Far

To date, the Chinese government has made two specific commitments on debt relief. The first was the G-20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative for Poorest Countries reached by finance ministers and central bank governors on April 15. As part of this agreement, the Chinese Foreign Ministry officially recognized that G-20 countries, including China, would suspend both principal repayments and interest payments starting on May 1, 2020 until the end of 2020. The suspension is applicable to all IDA-eligible countries (76 countries) plus Angola, including 40 sub-Saharan African countries.

Read the full op-ed in Brookings.

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