Will China’s $78 Million Waiver Ease Cameroon’s Debt Burden?

The total debt burden stands at almost $5.7 billion, according to the public entity that manages its external debt.
(180831) — BEIJING, Aug. 31, 2018 (Xinhua) — Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) meets with Cameroonian President Paul Biya in Beijing, capital of China, Aug. 31, 2018. (Xinhua/Yao Dawei) (wyl)

China has written off Cameroon’s $78 million debt. 

The said amount was due to be repaid in 2018 as part of the country’s estimated $5.7bn total debt burden.

The move forms part of Chinese support to help ease economic hardship in the central African country.

The announcement was made late last week after a meeting between President Paul Biya and Yang Jiechi, a special representative of the Chinese President Xi Jinping in Yaounde.

Analysts have, however, expressed reservations about Beijing’s motives with an economist stating that it may be linked to acquiring  greater access to natural resources.

“China wants to control the sub-regional market and Cameroon is the gateway,” economist Ariel Gnitedem told the BBC.

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“It is possible they also want a greater share in the enormous natural resources in Cameroon which are essential to feed its home industries,” he added.

President Biya met with Jinping at the Africa cooperation FOCAC summit in 2018 in Beijing and reportedly requested for the repayment waiver.

Cameroon like most other African countries continue to turn to China for loans to largely finance infrastructure projects. Analysts have raised issues about the non-sustainability of these loans.

Governments have routinely rejected the concerns stating that the relationship was based on mutual respect for both parties. 


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