US warns Nigeria, other African countries over Chinese loans

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The United States, US, Secretary of State, Mr. Rex Tillerson, has told Nigeria and other African countries to be wary of the Chinese government and its loan facilities, which he said must be weighed carefully.

Speaking on Thursday during his first visit to Africa, he was however quick to point out that Washington was not trying to keep Chinese investment away from the continent.

Africa has since turned to China in trade and investment agreements with the Chinese government pumping billions into infrastructure projects across the continent. Critics however believe that there are often little gains for local economies because Chinese firms and nationals build the roads and rails.

On Thursday, Tillerson, who is slated to visit Nigeria before the end of his tour, told a news conference in Addis Ababa, 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.”

The US diplomat 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”.

Tillerson’s current shuttle is also believed to be US’ way of seeking smooth relations with African countries after President Donald Trump reportedly dismissed some African nations as “Shithole countries” in a January comment he later denied.

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