Top United States of America (US) Africa diplomat, Tibor Nagy, warned in Pretoria, South Afric, yesterday, that African countries running up debts they cannot pay back, including China, should not expect to be bailed out by western-sponsored debt relief.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank began the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative in 1996; to help the world’s poorest countries clear billions of dollars worth of unsustainable debt.
But, Africa is facing another potential debt crisis today, with around 40 per cent of low-income countries in the region now in debt distress or at high risk of it, according to an IMF report released a year ago.
US Assistant Secretary of State for Africa for African Affairs, Nagy said: “We went through this, just in the last 20 years, this big debt forgiveness for a lot of African countries,’’ referring to the HIPC programme.
“ I certainly would not be sympathetic, and I do not think my administration would be sympathetic to that kind of situation,’’ he told reporters.
Under President Donald Trump’s administration, the US has criticised China for pushing poor countries into debt, mainly through lending, for large-scale infrastructure projects. Nagy has warned that those nations risk losing control of strategic assets if they cannot repay Chinese loans.
U.S. officials have warned that a strategic port in the tiny Horn of Africa nation, Djibouti, could be next, a prospect the government there has denied.
From 2000 to 2016, China loaned around $125 billion to the continent, according to data from the China-Africa Research Initiative at Washington’s Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.
Meanwhile, Director General of the National Agency for Control of AIDS (NACA) in Nigeria, Dr Sani Aliyu, said the US has invested up to $400 million in the fight against the HIV/AIDS in the country.
Aliyu said this in Abuja, yesterday, at an event to celebrate and award individuals who have contributed to the fight against HIV/AIDS in the country.
The director general said the american government showed concern in fighting the scourge, through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
He, however, added that the efforts of PEPFAR would not had made impact without direct involvement of the awardees.
On June 10, 2019, the US PEPFAR–Nigeria Programme honoured 16 outstanding persons in Nigeria for their sacrifices in fighting HIV/AIDS in Nigeria.
They included late Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin, Prof. John Idoko, Dr. Aliyu, Grace Toni, Mr. Victor Olaore Omoshehin, Ms. Tobore Ovuorie, Dr. William Blattner and Ukam Reginald Assumpta.
Others were Dr. Patrick Matemilola, Mrs. Lucy Enyia, Alban Anonyuo, MWO Musa Emmanuel (retd), Maj-Gen. Ogbonnaya Njoku (retd); Maj-Gen. Umar (retd); Maj-Gen. Life Ajemba (retd) and Brig-Gen. Nurudeen Hussain (retd).