China defends its role in African finance after US comments on ‘debt trap’

As the United States steps up diplomatic efforts in Africa ahead of a leaders’ summit in December, China pushes back on allegations of Chinese ‘debt traps’ for African nations made by Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US ambassador to the United Nations , during its African Food Security Tour.

Thomas-Greenfield, who ended with a stopover in Cape Verde over the weekend, said the visit was not intended to compete for influence with China or Russia, but noted that “if you look at this what is China doing in Africa”, it is clear that debt is at the center of the relationship.

The remarks led to a denial from Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying, who said the allegations of debt traps are pure fabrications. She cited research from the UK and China which argues that it is in fact Western debt that has a more negative impact on African economic development. .

“The numbers don’t lie,” she says. “It is quite obvious who exactly is creating a debt trap for African countries.”

She also added China’s oft-repeated assertion that bridges, roads, schools and hospitals built or funded by China in African countries demonstrate Beijing’s commitment. “African countries are best placed to comment on Africa’s cooperation with China,” she noted.

China has provided emergency food aid to Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia and Eritrea, among others, and plans to provide new food aid as the continent grapples with climate impacts and shortages caused by the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.

Thomas-Greenfield also traveled to Ghana and Uganda to focus on food aid to Africans. His visit ends as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken embarks on a trip to South Africa, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Image: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China

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