China pardons bilateral debt of 33 African countries

30 January 2007

Beijing, China, 30 Jan – China is to pardon the bilateral debt of 33 African countries by the end of 2007, the Ministry of Trade said in Beijing Monday, one day before President Hu Jintao was due to begin a ten-day tour of eight African countries.

In a statement published on the Ministry website, the Chinese government said it would pardon the debt of less developed African nations and those with heavier debt burdens, without mentioning which countries would benefit from the measure.

The Ministry also did not give details of the total debt to be written off, but said that pardoning the debt was part of a series of initiatives that China had pledged to undertake in November, during the head of state and government summit of the Forum of China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC.

The policies to help Africa that China announced at the Summit included providing preferential loans, creating a China-Africa fund for development for companies to use and pardoning debts owed by less developed African countries, as is the case with Mozambique.

Beijing pledged to ease the entry of African products to the Chinese market, increasing the number of products exempt from import taxes and, over the next three years, setting up a maximum of five areas of commercial and economic cooperation with Africa.

Between January 30 and February 10, President Hu Jintao will visit South Africa, Namibia, Zambia, Cameroon, Liberia, the Sudan, the Seychelles and Mozambique.. (macauhub)