China has announced it is to write off all interest free loans and soft loans to Malawi and other African countries.
The deputy Chinese ambassador to Malawi said this Tuesday in Lilongwe at a news conference ahead of Africa China summit to be held in South Africa in December and Malawi President Peter Mutharika will attend.
The deputy ambassador said the move would accelerate development in Malawi and other African countries, most of whom are fighting chronic poverty, 50 years after independence.
However the Chinese envoy could not say how much Malawi owes China in soft loans and interest free loans and ministry of Finance officials asked for more time to cross check the figures.
China’s assistance to Malawi has been growing steadily, he pointed out.
The envoy said China has set aside US$2 billion for development activities in Africa and another US$12 billion to enhance trade with African countries and promised that China would remain a friend to the continent..
He said China wants to enhance security programmes in Africa so that the continent is a paradise of investment opportunities.
China has emerged as an alternative lender to the International Monetary Fund for the poor African nations with no conditionalities.
The Chinese aim to improve its ties to African countries on which it relies for oil, copper and other commodities that fuel China’s booming economy.
But Beijing’s involvement has been criticized for resource-extraction projects accused of being exploitative, and for striking deals without adequate concern for human rights. Critics argue that Chinese investors should demand transparency and good governance before granting aid and financing development projects.