Sierra Leone to stop the Chinese airport construction

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The Multi-million project in Sierra Leone had been driven out of Beijing. Now it has been stopped by the new government of the West African country: The airport is too expensive and use only in China.

On this beach, the ferry launches, the Freetown (in the Background) with the International airport of Lunghi connects

The new government in Sierra Leone has completed the China-driven construction of a nearly 300-million-Euro airport. The project was not economically feasible, especially since the existing airport of the capital city, Freetown, was by no means busy, argued the Ministry of transport of the West African state.

The planned cost of 318 million dollars, which corresponds to about ten percent of the annual economic output of the country. The airport should be financed with a loan from the China Exim Bank and the construction company, China Railway Seventh Group to be realized. The project had been criticized because it would increase the debt of the country.

Sierra Leone’s former President, Ernest Bai Koroma, had signed the loan agreement with China just before the March elections, in which his party lost.

His successor, Julius Maada Bio, had already announced during the election campaign to stop the project. “The majority of Chinese infrastructure projects in Sierra Leone are a deception, and the population neither bring economic benefits and development”, Bio.

Choice winner Julius Maada Bio at the time of swearing-in as President on 04.04.2018

China: There is no Problem

A foreign Ministry spokesman in Beijing rejected this view: in China, always bet on “mutual benefits and Win-Win cooperation”. The termination of the project, this does not mean that there is a Problem in the relationship between China and Sierra Leone.

In the past 20 years, China has expanded its presence on the African continent and is involved in many countries, the Expansion of the infrastructure. Since 2009, China is the largest trading partner of Africa.

The Chinese see in Africa and elsewhere – most recently in the Malaysia – again and again, the criticism, and generous financing for infrastructure projects were mainly Chinese companies.

In Africa, there are several controversial contracts, which China secures long-term access to resources, such as Oil or minerals in return for generous loans.

China’s government, its banks and the exporting companies have provided African countries since the year 2000, more than 140 billion US dollars in loans available, such as the China-Africa Research Initiative calculated at the Johns Hopkins University in the US capital, Washington. Over-Indebtedness of African countries could increase their political dependence on China.

bea/rb (dpa, reuters, afp)