China forgives part of Mozambique’s debt

During a ceremony in Maputo, where Mozambique’s Deputy Foreign Minister Nyeleti Mondlane and the Chinese ambassador, Su Jian, signed various economic and technical cooperation agreements, it was announced that the interest on Chinese loans that should have been paid by the end of this year by Mozambique which amounted to 239.26 million yuans (about 36 million US dollars, at current exchange rates), have been pardoned.

According to Mondlane, the debt cancellation was of great importance as it allows Mozambique to re-programme its budget, and apply funds to other areas other than servicing debt.

One of the new agreement signed is a US$15 million Chinese grant for a new airport that will be built in Chonguene district and will serve Xai-Xai, which is the only Provincial capital without an Airport. Xai-Xai is the capital of the southern province of Gaza in Mozambique.

The Airport which will occupy 4,000 hectares, will have a 1,600 meter long runway and will serve as an alternative to Maputo International Airport in emergency situations.

The Chinese grant alone would not be enough to build the airport from scratch, so the government are hoping to mobilize a further 35 million dollars to make the project a reality.

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