By writing off billions of dollars owed by African countries, Russia has “opened a way for its companies to operate on the continent,” said Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, as cited by the Interfax news agency.
Peskov explained that for a long time the debt burden had prevented the development of collaboration and cooperation between African countries and Russian companies. By law, companies with major debt could not enter into any new projects, he explained.
“This is how it’s been cleared up,” Peskov noted.
The presidential press secretary pointed out that companies will now be able to work on a mutually beneficial basis, earning money and increasing trade. “It’s a lot of employment, it’s expansion on the global and African markets,” he remarked.
Commenting on the criticism directed against Russia’s decision to write off African debt, Peskov noted that writing off happened a long time ago. For example, in 1996 the World Bank and International Monetary Fund initiated a program to ease the debt burden on African countries, and Russia took part in the initiative. In 2006 there was a government decree, and these debts were written off. The debts in question were “unrecoverable”, Peskov observed.
Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Russia had written off various African countries’ debts.