China has recently approved a proposed G20 debt restructuring framework for debtor countries.
The German finance minister has suggested, in a sign that Beijing is prepared to take a concessionary approach to African countries struggling under the burden of debt repayments. This approved proposal is the G20 Common Framework for Debt Treatment beyond the DSSI, which is a significant boost for African countries facing unsustainable debt burdens.
On October 8, 2023, after meeting Chinese Vice Premier He Lifeng, Christian Linder said “We welcome the fact that the Chinese side is also committed to this [debt restructuring] in our Joint Statement, because solutions are inconceivable without China as such important player in world politics.” While no specific details have been put forward on what this restructuring may look like in practice, it is expected that China will drop its demand for losses to be shared around other creditor countries and financial institutions.
The G20 Common Framework was endorsed in November 2020 to provide a comprehensive approach to debt restructuring for low-income countries. It is the first global framework to include all types of creditors, including bilateral, multilateral, and private-sector creditors.
China is the world's largest bilateral creditor, and its participation in the Common Framework is essential for its success. China's approval of the Common Framework is a positive step forward, and it is hoped that it will encourage other creditors to do the same.
The Common Framework can help African countries to reduce their debt burdens by providing for debt reduction, debt restructuring, and debt forgiveness. This can free up resources that can be used to invest in economic growth and development. Moreover, it can also help African countries to improve their debt sustainability by ensuring that their debt levels are consistent with their ability to repay them. This can help to reduce the risk of defaults and crises in the future. And lastly, by reducing debt burdens and improving debt sustainability, the Common Framework can help to promote economic growth in Africa. This can lead to job creation, poverty reduction, and improved living standards for all Africans.
China has insisted that the framework must be fair and equitable to all creditors, including private sector creditors. China has also called for the Common Framework to be flexible and adaptable to the specific needs of debtor countries.
However, there are some concerns about China's role in the Common Framework. Some critics have argued that China is using the Common Framework to advance its own economic and political interests. Others have argued that China is not doing enough to help debtor countries.
Overall, China's impact on the G20 Debt Framework is likely to be significant. China's participation in the Common Framework is essential for its success, and China has played a key role in shaping the initiative. However, there are some concerns about China's role in the Common Framework, and it is important to monitor China's participation closely.