"I don't like galling with debts" China's light and shadow spread across Africa August 19 20:08
“I borrowed a lot because I said I would lend me as much.
But as a result, I didn't think I had to listen to anything. ''
This situation is never calm. It would be hard for an individual, but what if that happened at the national level?
African countries are increasingly worried that they may be trapped in debt traps. The debt partner is China.
(Johannesburg Branch Director, Shoichiro Beppu)
China no matter where you look
Angola facing the Atlantic Ocean in southern Africa.
Formerly a Portuguese colony, street corner radio emits hilarious Latin music with a loud sound.
However, driving in the capital Luanda reveals the existence of another country with great influence in this country.
A Chinese sign that jumps into the eyes on the main road.
It is overflowing with advertisements from Chinese companies in all types of industries, from construction and transportation to food sales.
Many Chinese people worked in the wholesale district of a Chinese company.
“I like Angola ’s life. It ’s a thriving business.”
Whole city made in China
The most prominent part of China's expansion is the construction of large-scale infrastructure such as roads and ports.
The symbol of this is a new city born in the suburbs 30 kilometers away from the capital.
700 high-rise apartments towering over a 5000 hectare site.
Schools and lifelines have also been developed, and a whole city of 70,000 people has been built by China.
The long-standing civil war in Angola ended in 2002, but in 2008 when the turmoil continued, the Chinese government financed the entire amount and 450 Chinese companies started construction.
It will be expanded further and 200,000 people will live in the future.
One of the residents, engineer Octavio Samba (39), moved six years ago with his wife and five children.
Purchase 120 square meters of 3LDK in Japanese yen for about 8 million yen.
It is said that it will be repaid with a 20-year mortgage.
“Thanks to China, my dream of having a home has come true.”
But such infrastructure construction is not free.
The construction cost is only a debt, and even if the total cost of the new city is 35 billion dollars, the government of Angola is obliged to pay back to China.
Although official statistics on the actual state of financing in China in Africa have not been published, a research group at Johns Hopkins University in the United States has seen that the Chinese government and government-affiliated financial institutions In line with this, we have compiled the results of a survey that lent $ 143 billion (about 16 trillion yen).
China has been steadily pouring gold over the past 20 years to bring Africa, which has abundant resources, a rapidly growing population, and a promising consumer market into the “One Belt and One Road” concept.
Of these, Angola has provided the largest amount of loans.
That amount is about $ 43 billion.
Debt collateral is crude oil
Even so, aren't you worried about lending so much?
In fact, there was a big mechanism.
With loans to Angola, China often holds crude oil as collateral.
Angola is one of the leading oil producing countries in Africa.
Rather, crude oil accounts for 95% of exports, and there is nothing that can be exported other than crude oil.
This is the only asset that guarantees debt repayment.
Moreover, now that the price of crude oil has fallen, more oil is needed for repayment.
In China, the loaned funds are returned to Chinese companies that have received orders for infrastructure construction, and crude oil is also available.
Carlos Rosad, an economist at a local university, said, “It's a completely favorable system for China, and I can't believe why the government of Angola has signed such unfavorable financing terms.”
Debt that does not care for the people
The person who has signed such contracts one after another is former President Dos Santos who has maintained his long-term government in Angola for nearly 40 years after independence.
Originally a warrior from the independence movement from Portugal, as long-term administration continued, power was strengthened by relatives, and Angola became the “most corrupt country in Africa”.
In the center of the capital, Luanda, super-luxury hotels costing $ 500 per night are lined up, and along the coast, youths who are enthusiastic about Western brands are jogging. The city is endless.
1 in 3 is poor
While the country's finances are tightened due to debt repayment, one in three people is a poor living with an income of less than $ 1.9 a day.
Prices are rising due to inflation, and life is getting harder.
Slum residents said, “China's investment has not brought any benefit to them.”
Wind direction has begun to change
In response to these criticisms, the Chinese side argued that Africa was not going to fall into a “debt trap” and justified Chinese loans as “welcome to African leaders”.
Even now, Angola is gradually revisiting how to face China.
Former President Dos Santos was finally retired two years ago when the long-term administration broke out.
After that, President Roulenso, who is newly appointed, is making reforms.
When I visited the construction site of the main station in Luanda, which is owned by a Chinese company, the construction was completely stopped.
President Lorenzo ordered that the construction of the station and the new airport be reviewed as the construction project costs of Chinese companies are unclear and too large.
Voices of expectations for Japan
Under such circumstances, the Angola government has heard the expectations of Japan.
`` Angola wants to diversify who accepts loans and investments '' in an interview, President Risino Bascontraias, the government's investment promotion agency, said, `` I want Japan to come there by all means '' It was.
Japan is also trying to find a chance now that Angola's regime has changed.
In May, Foreign Minister Kono visited Luanda and cooperated to improve the investment environment.
In the southern port, Japanese Bank for International Cooperation will provide loans, and Japanese companies will begin expansion work in the future.
What will Japan do?
However, this movement has just begun.
Even in the visit of Minister Kono, it was the first time in 17 years as a Foreign Minister in Japan.
The situation is far from competing side by side with China, and in Africa, compared to China with an overwhelming presence, “I have never seen a Japanese, but where are you? I often hear "?"
Zambian opposition leaders, who have a lot of debt to China, like Angola, criticized in an interview that “Chinese loans are predatory,” but “infrastructure for economic development is necessary. And are there companies coming? "
From 28th to 30th of this month, the TICAD = African Development Conference, which is the pillar of Japan's African diplomacy, will be held in Yokohama, and leaders from various African countries will participate.
Now that Africa's view of China has changed, it is an important opportunity to raise Japan's presence.
For that reason, the seriousness of how much Japan is involved in and rewinding, including not only funding but also the relationship between people, will be tested.
Shoichiro Beppu, Johannesburg Branch Director