Why China Won’t Write Off Debt for Nigeria, Other Sub-Saharan Countries
After years of defaults and debt write-offs by several multilateral and bilateral institutions, China, Africa’s now largest bilateral creditor, entered Africa’s loan market with a unique model that will ensure African nations do not get away with procured loans even if their leaders squandered it.
In early 2000, President Xi Jinping announced an African Infrastructure loan project to support and open up the African economy. A vision most African leaders keyed into because of its seemingly easy process and approval when compared to the process and scrutiny involved in securing loans from the likes of World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and other top financial institutions.
However, underneath the quick response and fast approval is a complex model that ensures these African nations are indebted to China, even in certain situations like COVID-19.
To avoid unnecessary requests for debt write-offs, defaults, and reliefs, the Chinese government had limited its African loans to infrastructural projects executed by Chinese owned companies and in most cases with Chinese labour.
Deborah Brautigam, Head of the China Africa Research Initiative at JHU’s School of Advanced International Studies, put loans made by the Chinese government to African nations between 2000 and 2018 at about $152 billion.
“The Chinese have always done their lending on the idea that individual projects contribute to structural transformation and economic development,” said Deborah Brautigam, who heads the China Africa Research Initiative at JHU’s School of Advanced International Studies. The thinking is, “those projects might be good projects and viable projects to get countries to a new stage where they might be in a position to repay the loans,” she said.
However, while the World Bank and other global financial institutions may offer debt reliefs and total write off in certain situations like the world is currently experiencing with COVID-19, China is unlikely to write off any debt given the fact that those infrastructural projects are expected to get yield results in future as the economy expands.
Also, the loans are visible projects either under construction or completed, therefore, China may offer moratorium and reduce interest rates but not write off loans as experienced in April during calls for debt relief. China was the last to join and has turned down a similar request by the International Monetary Fund to write off part of the debt owed by the Republic of Congo in 2019.
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Nigeria’s Presidential CNG Initiative Allocates N100bn for CNG Buses and EV Adoption
The Presidential Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Initiative has allocated N100 billion to expedite the deployment of CNG buses nationwide, according to a statement released on Wednesday.
The initiative, designed to catalyze an Auto-gas and Electric Vehicle (EV) revolution in mass transit and transportation, aims to enhance sustainability and cost-effectiveness.
The statement revealed that the fund would be instrumental in supporting the adoption of auto-gas and electric vehicles, signaling a commitment to a more sustainable and economical future in the transportation sector.
The Presidential CNG Initiative plans to leverage over 11,500 CNG and electric-fueled vehicles, along with the deployment of 55,000 conversion kits.
This strategic approach is intended to reduce transportation costs for Nigerians and mitigate the challenges posed by the rising cost of living.
Under the Renewed Hope Agenda, the Presidential CNG Initiative is dedicated to realizing the President’s vision, guided by its steering committee led by FIRS Chairman Zacch Adedeji.
The statement highlighted recent achievements, including strategic technical partnerships and the ongoing commissioning of CNG Conversion centers in key states such as Lagos, Abuja, Kaduna, Ogun, and Rivers.
Several more centers are slated for commissioning in the coming weeks, reflecting the initiative’s momentum and commitment to achieving its objectives.
Nigeria’s Power Transformation: 53 Projects Worth N122bn on Track for May 2024 Completion
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in collaboration with the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and power distribution companies, is set to complete 53 power projects by May next year.
Valued at N122 billion, these projects aim to add over 1,000 megawatts to TCN’s wheeling capacity.
During a recent tour of three ongoing projects in Lagos, TCN’s Programme Coordinator, Mathew Ajibade, assured that the projects were not abandoned, refuting speculations.
He confirmed that work is progressing smoothly and is expected to be completed by May 2024, as initially planned.
Assistant Director/Head of Infrastructure Finance Office at the CBN, Tumba Tijani, highlighted the CBN’s support for the power sector, revealing that the bank released a loan at a 9% interest rate in August last year for the projects.
The funding, part of the Nigeria Electricity Market Stabilisation Facility-3, amounts to N122,289,344 and aims to address transmission/distribution bottlenecks, enhance supply to end-users, and unlock unutilized generation capacity.
Tijani disclosed that N85.43 billion has been disbursed into the Advance Payment Guarantee account of the 53 contractors responsible for executing the projects.
The comprehensive project list includes the delivery of power transformers, re-conductoring existing transmission lines, upgrading existing substations, and constructing 33KV line bays.
The initiative reflects a concerted effort to enhance Nigeria’s power infrastructure and meet growing energy demands.
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