ZAMBIA CONSIDERING GIVING MOPANI, KCM TO CHINA IN EXCHANGE FOR DEBT, ACCORDING TO WALL STREET JOURNAL
*****Officials in Zambia, for example, say Beijing is demanding collateral in exchange for debt deferral or forgiveness. Two senior Zambian officials on a government panel negotiating with China said they are considering giving the Chinese copper-mining assets including the country’s third-largest mine, Mopani, owned by Glencore PLC, a London-listed mining company, in exchange for debt relief.
JOHANNESBURG—With Africa’s most poverty-stricken economies pushing for debt relief as they struggle with the fallout from the global coronavirus pandemic, a tussle is brewing between developed nations, private investors and the continent’s largest creditor: China.
Wealthy countries from the U.S. to Japan—watching their own economies lurch toward recession—are loath to forgive African debt if they think the money will indirectly support Chinese creditors, including the government, banks and contractors. At the same time, Beijing is worried about setting a precedent for widespread forgiveness.
To head off a looming crisis, the Group of 20 nations, which includes China, agreed to suspend collection on government debt this year for more than 75 of the world’s poorest countries. And China’s Foreign Ministry said Monday it was willing to study the possibility of a coordinated international debt-relief program for Africa.
But some African governments already bilaterally petitioning China for relief say Chinese envoys are citing provisions in loan agreements that would transfer collateral, in some cases strategic state assets, into Beijing’s hands.
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