China has cancelled the Democratic Republic of Congo’s interest-free loans that matured in 2020 and promised to fund infrastructure projects as the Central African nation joined the Belt and Road Initiative, reported the South China Morning Post.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Beijing would write off loans to the DRC worth an estimated $28 million to help the country overcome the impact of Covid-19, and give $17 million in other financial support. Interest-free loans account for only about 5% of the loans China has advanced to Africa.
While meeting Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi in Kinshasa, Wang said most of the sum pledged, $15 million, would be channelled towards development projects. The remaining $2 million would be used to support DRC’s mandate as head of the African Union bloc for the next financial year. China also committed to funding refurbishment of the Congolese foreign ministry headquarters, said the SCMP. DRC took 53 loans worth $2.4 billion from China between 2000 and 2018, mostly to fund power, transport and mining projects, according to the China Africa Research Initiative at Johns Hopkins University.