$3.121b loans: China won’t take over Nigeria, says Embassy

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Naija Branding

From Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Abuja

The Chinese Embassy in Nigeria on Thursday said its country’s loans were not designed to take over Nigeria or any country.

It said there was nothing to worry about on the sovereignty clause in some of the loan agreements with Nigeria

It said China is committed to enhancing investment and financial cooperation with African countries to improve infrastructure.

The Embassy’s Press Officer, Mr. Sun Saixiong spoke against the backdrop of the row over the sovereignty clause in some loan agreements between Nigeria and China.

It was the first time the Chinese Embassy would make its position known on the controversy surrounding the loans.

The Debt Management Office (DMO) put the total value of loans taken by Nigeria from China as at March 31, 2020, at $3.121 billion.

The loans represent only about 3.94 per cent of Nigeria’s total public debt of $79.303.

In terms of external sources of funds, loans from China accounted for 11.28 per cent of the external debt stock of $27.67 as at the same date.

Saixiong said on telephone: “There is nothing like that (China taking over property). The inclusion of Sovereignty clause is a common practice in many international commercial agreements.

“We see the issue as more of Nigeria’s internal affairs. China follows the approach of no interference in African countries’ pursuit of development paths that fit their national conditions; no interference in African countries’ internal affairs.

“The terms of the loans have been explained, we don’t need to say anything on the clause.

“Our position has always been consistent that China is committed to enhancing investment and financial cooperation with African countries based on their needs to help them improve infrastructure and extradite socioeconomic development.

“China always gives full consideration to debt sustainability and seeks mutually-acceptable proposals through equal and friendly consultations.

“Such a debate on loans is not the first time it will come up in Nigeria and other African countries. China will never seek hegemony and we are not out to take over any country.”

He released the official position of the Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry on China-Africa cooperation.

The statement said: “China is committed to enhancing investment and financial cooperation with African countries based on their needs to help them improve infrastructure and extradite socioeconomic development.

“By funding infrastructure and other areas that lag behind for short of money, we have helped the relevant countries break bottlenecks, enhance their capacity for independent development, realize social and economic sustainable development, and improve people’s livelihood.

“Such cooperation has delivered tangible benefits to African countries and peoples. In the process, China always gives full consideration to debt sustainability and seeks mutually-acceptable proposals through equal and friendly consultations.

“That is the fundamental reason behind the enormous popularity of China-Africa cooperation in Africa. And such cooperation is widely welcomed by African countries.”

The Chinese President, Xi Jinping, made China’s position towards its cooperation with Africa quite clear in his remarks on the FOCAC (Forum on China-Africa Cooperation) Beijing Summit 2018 when he said: “We respect Africa, love Africa and support Africa.

“We follow a ‘five-no’ approach in our relations with Africa: no interference in African countries’ pursuit of development paths that fit their national conditions; no interference in African countries’ internal affairs; no imposition of our will on African countries; no attachment of political strings to assistance to Africa; and no seeking of selfish political gains in investment and financing cooperation with Africa.”

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