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China waives some of Congo debt to ease stress on economy

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Kim Min-hee/AP

Democratic Republic Of Congo

China has waived some of the debt owed to it by the Democratic Republic of Congo, to help the central African country overcome the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, Congo's foreign affairs ministry said on Wednesday.

The ministry did not say how much was forgiven. 

The deal was announced during a visit to Kinshasa by Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi.

Beijing has extended loans amounting to $2.4bn to Kinshasa, mainly to build infrastructure, since 2000, according to the China Africa Research Initiative.

China has extended debt relief worth over $2bn to developing under a G20 framework known as the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI). 

Some of the beneficiary countries include Angola, Ethiopia, Zambia and Djibouti. 

Wang, who is on his 5-nation tour of Africa also met with President Felix Tshisekedi.

Chinese broadcaster CGTN reported that the Democratic Republic of Congo had signed up to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), becoming the 45th African country to do so. 

The program aims to build trade and infrastructure networks connecting Asia with Europe and Africa

Before arriving in Kinshasa, Wang had been in Abuja where he held meetings with Nigeria's foreign minister and President Muhammadu Buhari.

He's expected in Botswana on Thursday.

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