African Countries Standing-Up To China’s Brute-Force? Sierra Leone Rejects Aid

Sierra Leone President Julius Maada Bio (L) with Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) during the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation held on September 3, 2018 in Beijing. (Andy Wong - Pool/Getty Images)

Citing the reason as ‘grossly under-utilised’, the new President of Sierra Leone, Julius Maada Bio has rejected the loan sanctioned by China to build an international airport at Mamamah worth USD 400 million. The decision comes just one month after he attended the China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Beijing.

Instead of going for a new airport, the existing one will be renovated, announced the country’s aviation minister. Lungi, which happens to be the capital city of the country, has the only international airport. A bridge is being planned between the airport to connect to Freetown, reported Quartz Africa.

China has been notoriously known for lending loans to assert dominance over developing countries in Asia and Africa. World Bank had issued warnings to Sierra Leone that the country will be trapped in debt if they accepted the loan. During the FOCAC summit, President Xi Jinping pledged USD 60 billion to Africa’s growth and development, calling it ‘win-win cooperation policy with Africa’.

Nearly 70 per cent of Kenya’s bilateral debt traces back to China. Recently, there were reports that China could take over Zambia’s national electric company. The country later disputed those claims. In the 2017 Human Development Index, Sierra Leone was placed 184 out of 189 countries. After fighting against a civil war, the country had to deal with the Ebola crisis.

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