West criticises China over its debt policy in 'new scramble for Africa' - Daily Nation

West criticises China over its debt policy in 'new scramble for Africa'

Sunday September 9 2018

china debt

China is now Kenya’s largest bilateral creditor, accounting for 72 per cent of all foreign loans. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

By PAUL REDFERN
More by this Author

A war of words is emerging between China and the West over who has the best interests of Africa at heart when it comes to vitally needed investment.

With political analysts talking about a ‘new scramble for African resources’ following the high level meeting in China attended by 54 African states last week, questions have been raised as to who will really benefit from the increased interest.

The event was preceded by UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s plan for £8 billion worth of Britain’s investment in the continent much of it in the technological sector during her visit.

Western critics have hit out at China’s plan for $60 billion worth of loans to Africa saying there is a real concern that it could create a new debt crisis.

Beijing responded by saying that, unlike the West, its loans come with no strings attached and go to where investment is vitally needed. China is now Kenya’s largest bilateral creditor, accounting for 72 per cent of all foreign loans.

Kenya is also one of the five most indebted nations in terms of money owed to foreign creditors such as IMF and countries like China — a total of $22 .2 billion — along with South Africa on $143 billion, Angola on $37.7 billion, Ethiopia on $22.5 Billion and Ghana on $21.2 Billion.

Following the high level meeting between President Xi of China and 54 African nations, Beijing insists that its new $60 billion package of loans and aid will not create a new debt crisis for the continent as it will pay for vitally needed infrastructure, investment that will enable the continent to grow more rapidly.

Chinese involvement in Africa has increased dramatically over the past 20 years, with trade increasing more than 20-fold to US $220 billion since 2000. In contrast, the value of UK trade with its three