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Chinese FM spokesperson refutes "debt trap" claim

BEIJING, July 14 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson on Thursday refuted the so-called "Chinese debt trap" claim, saying that it is pure disinformation and a narrative trap created by those who do not hope to see China-Africa cooperation pick up speed.

Spokesperson Wang Wenbin made the remarks at a daily news briefing, responding to a query on a recent report on debt in Africa.

The UK charity "Debt Justice" recently published a report citing data from the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and other institutions, claiming that African governments owe three times more debt to Western private lenders than to China, and are charged double the interest.

Wang cited data from the World Bank as saying that, of the 696 billion U.S. dollars external debt of 49 African governments with data, about three quarters is owed to multilateral institutions and non-Chinese private creditors.

"Debt Justice found that for the 24 African countries with the highest debt burdens, the median share of their external debt payments from 2022 to 2028 to non-Chinese private creditors and multilateral creditors is projected to be 32 percent and 35 percent, respectively. The average interest rate on loans from Western private lenders is almost twice that of Chinese lenders," Wang said.

"As Debt Justice's head of policy said, 'Western leaders blame China for debt crises in Africa, but this is a distraction. The truth is their own banks, asset managers and oil traders are far more responsible'," he added.

"We call on developed countries, their private lenders and multilateral financial institutions to take more robust actions to give developing countries funding support and relieve their debt burden, so that the world economy will achieve inclusive and sustainable development," Wang said. ■