US Warns Africa Against Chinese Loans
The United States, US, Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, has continued to take a dig at Chinese investments in Africa. on Tuesday, shortly before he left for Africa for his first official trip since Trump Presidency, Tillerson cautioned that Chinese interest in Africa encourages African dependency.
On Thursday the US Diplomat told African countries to be wary of the Chinese government and its loan facilities adding that Washington was not trying to keep Chinese investment away from the continent.
Mr. Tillerson, a former Exxon Chief Executive, is seeking to bolster economic and security alliances on a continent increasingly turning to China for aid and trade.
The U.S. diplomat is also believed to be seeking smooth relations with African countries after President Donald Trump reportedly dismissed some African nations as “Shithole countries” in January, a comment he later denied.
The trip is his first to Africa, which has since turned to China in trade and investment agreements.
The Chinese government has pumped billions into infrastructure projects across the continent, although critics say there is often little gains for local economies because Chinese firms and nationals build the roads and rails.
On Thursday, the U.S diplomat told a news conference in the Ethiopian capital that African leaders need to carefully consider their agreements with China.
“We are not in any way attempting to keep Chinese ‘dollars’ from Africa,” he said, “(but) it is important that African countries carefully consider the terms of those agreements and not forfeit their sovereignty.”
Mr. Tillerson said that Chinese investments “do not bring significant job creation locally” and criticised how the country structures loans to African governments, saying if a government accepts a Chinese loan and “gets into trouble”, it can “lose control of its own infrastructure or its own resources through default.”
Mr. Tillerson arrived Ethiopia on Wednesday and visited the African Union headquarters, built by China, on Thursday.
He was due to meet with Ethiopian officials on Thursday afternoon before flying to tiny Djibouti, host to sprawling military bases owned by the U.S, China, Japan, France, and Italy.