By Mustapha Darboe
China has waived a U$D12 million loan to The Gambia following the signing of a debt relief protocol this week with China where Foreign affairs Minister Ousinaou Darboe is currently on a visit.
Saikou Ceesay, the spokesperson for the foreign affairs ministry confirmed to The Standard that the “four interest-free” loans were contracted between the years 1975 to 1991.
“The Chinese side agreed to exempt The Gambia from repaying the aforementioned debts due and totalling of 82, 850, 000 RMB Yuan ($12,322,909),” the agreement seen by The Standard states.
Meanwhile, Chinese local media reported on Wednesday that China have offered to support Gambia in infrastructure, agriculture, tourism and other areas.
Gambia’s new government, which took over from former long-time leader Yahya Jammeh this year, has pledged to continue relations with Beijing.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi Wang told Ousainou Darboe at a meeting in Beijing that China was ready “to enhance cooperation with Gambia in infrastructure, agriculture, tourism and other fields.”
Wang said the resumption of diplomatic ties had not only brought bilateral relations back on the right track but also opened up broad prospects for cooperation.
Gambia would stick to the one-China policy, which asserts that Taiwan is part of China, and was looking forward to pragmatic cooperation with China in various fields, the ministry quoted Darboe as saying.