South Asia News

Maldivians worried if China will take over assets, like in Africa

With three of the largest Chinese projects in the Maldives said to be worth $1.5 billion, social media has been flooded with concern and disapproval following reports that China is to take over Zambia’s international airport if that country fails to pay back its foreign debt.
Sep 11, 2018
MALE: With three of the largest Chinese projects in the Maldives said to be worth $1.5 billion, social media has been flooded with concern and disapproval following reports that China is to take over Zambia’s international airport if that country fails to pay back its foreign debt.
 
China is reportedly proposing to take over the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport should the Zambian Government fail to pay back the US$360 million loan on time.  The Chinese also own 60% shares of the Zambian National Broadcasting Corporation, which effectively means the Chinese have an influence over what should or should not be aired.
 
In Ghana too, the story is no different. Chinese owned company STARTIME is gradually gaining grounds over major institutions, while Ghana’s biggest mining companies are set to be “taken over" by a Chinese company, according to Committee for the Abolition of Illegitimate Debt.
 
“Zambia, Gambia, all lessons to you!” former Maldivian Foreign Minister Ahmed Shaheed tweeted, referring to China-backed development projects in the Maldives such as the US$200 million Sinamalé Bridge and an upgrade of the country’s main international airport.
 
MP Abdul Ghafoor Moosa, who sits on parliament’s finance committee, told the Maldives Independent that about 90 percent of the country’s external debt has to be paid to China.
 
“Our economy will be in a deadlock because of China. We will have to pay at least 70 percent of what we get to China. It is an immense economic fear to be so dependent on just one country alone,” the MP said.
 
Most comments on local news websites expressed concern and skepticism over China-led projects in the Maldives.

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