Saturday, February, 04,2023

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Chinese lending in Africa laced with ambitions to secure UNGA votes amid Taiwan tensions

Beijing: China's "debt diplomacy" in Africa is a deliberately created situation so that Beijing can force these poor states to vote with it in the UN General Assembly, support its positions on Taiwan or acquire valuable real estate in Africa that can be converted into military bases.
According to Asia Times, in mid-August, China's Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi promised numerous debt-relief measures for the poorest countries. The announcement was made at the ministerial meeting of the Forum for China Africa Cooperation. During the meeting, Yi announced the cancellation of loan balances that were unlikely to be serviced in full, anyway. This move was rather politically motivated which apparently comes to Beijing at a very low cost. With this tactic, China is seeking to reinforce ties with the African sovereigns amid pressure from the international community in connection to its infamous "debt-diplomacy."
Though, the US has been less direct in its allegations of Chinese debt trap diplomacy however US President Joe Biden too has put Beijing on the defensive by accusing it of holding African states over a barrel through its creditor power.
But fundamentally, Beijing's debt-diplomacy does little to alter Africa's growing indebtedness. Amid geopolitical posturing by China and the US, there is still little sign that global powers or the international financial institutions will finally tackle the systemic drivers of the resurgence in African debt. In that sense, China's recent announcement is, unfortunately, business as usual, said the media portal.
Another case in point is China's double standards. On one hand, China's Foreign Minister Wang condemned the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) for a "zero-sum Cold War mentality" in his comments, while on the other hand, the country itself is pushing the African nations on the brink of insolvency.
The interesting fact is that China does not carry out these ploys in Africa only but also in regions like Latin America and Europe. China uses so-called "debt diplomacy" to expand its influence, offering hundreds of billions of dollars in infrastructure loans to governments from Asia to Africa to Europe and even Latin America.
The recent economic meltdown and toppling of the Rajapaksa family regime in Sri Lanka rattled countries from Ghana to South Africa. The events stoked fears that panicked markets might question the solvency of African sovereigns next. (ANI)

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