China will waive some African nations’ debt and is willing to provide further support including loan-maturity extensions. According to Chinese President Xi Jinping, these measures will free up funds needed to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking at a video conference with African leaders Wednesday, Xi urged creditors to do more, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.
“China hopes that the international community, especially developed countries and multilateral financial institutions, will act more forcefully on debt relief and suspension for Africa,” he said.
The measures add to an initiative by the Group of 20 leading economies to suspend payments for low-income countries that have been pushed to the brink of insolvency by the disease.
Wednesday’s summit, also attended by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres and World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, comes as China tries to deflect criticism over its initial handling of the Covid-19 pandemic and garner global support for its response to the virus.
The Chinese government will ensure that countries on the continent are “among the first to benefit” from any coronavirus vaccine it develops, Xi said, without providing further details.
Confirmed cases across Africa have surpassed 260,000, with more than 7,000 deaths.
China has suspended debt repayments from 77 developing countries and regions, Ma Zhaoxu, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, said at a State Council briefing in June.