Africa–China relations

Zambia asks China for debt relief

Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) with Zambia's President Edgar Lungu on March 30, 2015 in Beijing, China.
Getty Images

Zambian President Edgar Lungu has asked Chinese President Xi Jinping for debt relief in a telephone call between the two leaders on Monday.

President Lungu cited the country's reduced revenues due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a statement from his office.

"President Lungu called for debt relief and cancellation in light of reduced revenue due to the negative impact of the pandemic, as well as competing needs for the country, to secure adequate resources to fight the pandemic and to stimulate the economy," said the statement.

The leaders agreed to enhance co-operation between the two countries.

Ugandans in China make U-turn on repatriation

Ugandan nationals living in China have changed their minds on returning home and will not be included in repatriation flights, according to the foreign affairs ministry.

The ministry expects about 2,000 returnees from South Africa, Afghanistan, the US, United Arab Emirates and India.

Minister Henry Okello Oryem told Daily Monitor newspaper that many Ugandans in China had resumed work after their government intervened following reports of mistreatment.

The ministry termed the protests by Africans living in China against mistreatment there as having been a result of "miscommunication among local authorities about how to handle foreign nationals as they control the spread of coronavirus".

Ugandan nationals living in Sudan and Turkey were this week repatriated home:

View more on twitter

China to cancel interest-free loans to African nations

China's President Xi Jinping
Getty Images

China will cancel interest-free loans to African countries that are due to mature by the end of 2020, President Xi Jinping has announced.

He told a China-Africa summit on Covid-19 on Wednesday that African nations hardest hit by the pandemic will also be granted an extension of the period of debt suspension.

The Chinese leader also urged Chinese financial institutions to hold "friendly consultations" with African nations "to work out arrangements for commercial loans with sovereign guarantees".

"China will work with the UN, WHO and other partners to assist Africa's response to Covid-19, and do it in a way that respects the will of Africa," President XI said.

On the coronavirus pandemic, he said African countries will be among the first to benefit from a Chinese-made vaccine. China will also continue building hospitals across Africa.

It will also construct the headquarters of Africa Centre for Disease Control in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa.

Read:

Flight arranged for Kenyans stranded in China

Kenyans wishing to return home from China will be able to do so next Friday - but will have to buy their own tickets, costing $750 (£608).

The Kenya Airways flight will be leaving on 1 May from Guangzhou, the city which has become a hub for Africans in China.

Earlier this month community leaders there said the vast majority of the city’s African population were forced into quarantine or were sleeping on the streets.

Many of them said they faced discrimination amid fears that they were infected with coronavirus.

Kenya’s ambassador to China, Sarah Serem, reacted to the outrage on social media about the government’s handling of the affair.

She denied that embassy had ignored the plight of Kenyans in Guangzhou and said alternative accommodation had been arranged for those who needed it.

View more on twitter

Chinese doctors head to Africa to join Covid-19 fight

Ethiopian women wear face masks as a preventive measure against the coronavirus
Getty Images
China has been sending face masks and medical equipment to African nations

Teams of Chinese doctors have set off to Ethiopia and Burkina Faso to support efforts to fight coronavirus pandemic, state-owned China Global Television Network reports.

Their exact number unspecified, but they are drawn from Sichuan Province and Tianjin Municipality.

They left for Africa on Thursday according to China's foreign ministry.

They will share experience, provide guidance and technical advice on epidemic prevention in the two countries, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian is quoted as saying.

Nigeria last week received 18 Chinese doctors to help fight the coronavirus despite protests by local doctors.

The Nigerian Medical Association argued it would be better to make use of the many unemployed or under-employed medical personnel already in the country. It also said the Chinese doctors would not be familiar with the culture or challenges of working in Nigeria.

Reports have recently emerged of hundreds of Africans evicted from their homes and hotels in the Chinese city of Guangzhou over fears the coronavirus was spreading in African communities.

Nigeria, through its embassy in Beijing, had said it is prepared to evacuate its citizens from China.

Read:

Bobi Wine offers to airlift Africans mistreated in China

Africans in Guangzhou
BBC
Videos have been trending online showing African nationals on the streets

Ugandan opposition politician Robert Kyagulanyi, popularly known as Bobi Wine, says he has partnered with an American businessman to airlift Africans being mistreated in China.

This is after reports emerged of hundreds of Africans evicted from their homes and hotels in the Chinese city of Guangzhou over fears the coronavirus was spreading in African communities.

Bobi Wine said together with Neil Nelson they are ready to airlift the Africans if any African country agrees to receive them.

They are also prepared to evacuate to the US those who hold US citizenship or permanent resident status.

"We are calling upon the government of China to urgently intervene and ensure that targeted attacks on black people are brought to an end," they said in a joint statement.

Nigeria, through its embassy in Beijing, had said it is prepared to evacuate its citizens from China.

The Guangdong provincial government has said it attached "great importance to some African countries' concerns and is working promptly to improve"its way of operating.

Africans in Guangzhou spend second night on the streets

They were evicted from hotels

Danny Vincent

BBC News, Hong Kong

Africans in Ghangzou
BBC
Africans in Ghangzou were evicted on Tuesday

Scores of African students and businessmen remain on the streets of China's southern city of Guangzhou for a second night following the mass eviction of African nationals from hotels and apartment blocks.

Online rumours that the coronavirus was spreading among the thousands of Africans in the city led to door-to-door testing, evictions and accusations of forced quarantine.

"We have no house, no food, no hotel," one student from Nigeria told the BBC.

"There are up to 100 people still on the streets. People want to go back to our countries. I don’t know what the problem is with China. Everywhere that Africans live they are pushing us away.”

In an open letter penned by the All African Association of Guangzhou, community leaders called on the authorities to end the "the inhuman treatment, hatred, and outright discrimination of Africans that is currently going on in Guangzhou".

“About 10 African community leaders in Guangzhou are technically under house arrest using the term quarantine.

"These actions are difficult to comprehend when you consider the fact that these are people whose official test results came back negative just one or two days ago.”

In a written statement, the Nigerian embassy in Beijing said the federal government was now prepared to evacuate its citizens from China.

Thousands of Africans have been stranded in Wuhan and nearby cities close to the original Covid-19 outbreak since late January.

Wednesday saw the official lifting of the lockdown in Wuhan.

But this does not apply to many international students who still remain confined to their apartments.

Guangzhou is home to one of China’s largest African communities and has become a hub for African traders buying and selling goods to the continent.

China calls for end to sanctions against Zimbabwe

Chinese Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi (L) shakes hands with his Zimbabwean counterpart Sibusiso Moyo
Getty Images
Chinese Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi met his his Zimbabwean counterpart Sibusiso Moyo on Sunday

China’s foreign minister has called for EU and US sanctions against Zimbabwe to be removed, saying they have no basis under international law.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi made the comment on his visit to Zimbabwe.

"The unilateral sanctions imposed by some countries and organisations on Zimbabwe have no basis in international law and they violate the legitimate development rights and interests of Zimbabwe,” Mr Yi is quoted by Bloomberg news agency as saying.

Mr Yi arrived in Zimbabwe on Saturday as part of his five-nation tour of Africa. He has already visited Egypt, Djibouti and Eritrea and is planning to go to Burundi.

In October the Zimbabwean authorities declared a public holiday to encourage people to protest against the sanctions.

The US and EU have both maintained sanctions, citing a lack of progress in democratic and human rights reforms as well as restrictions on press freedoms.

They target both specific individuals and companies.

US financial and travel restrictions currently apply to 85 individuals, including President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

There are also 56 companies or organisations facing restrictions.

Read more: Who are Zimbabwe sanctions hurting?