Namibian Opposition Leader McHenry Venaani said their government must renegotiate foreign loans to avoid falling into the same trap as Sri Lanka and some African countries, the Namibian reported yesterday.
Mr. Venaani said foreign loan agreements that Namibia entered into, especially those secured from China, were badly structured, and do not necessarily benefit local people, despite a lot of opportunities that they created.
The Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) leader made these remarks on Monday shortly after meeting Chinese ambassador to Namibia Zhang Yiming in Windhoek.
In an interview with The Namibian, Venaani said Chinese loan agreements with African countries and Namibia were badly structured, to a point where if a country defaults, it loses its natural assets to China.
He cited the example of Sri Lanka, which least out a port after failing to pay back Chinese loans.
Venaani said the government thus need to renegotiate foreign loans to avoid falling into the same trap as Sri Lanka and some African countries.
“In general and in the African context, a lot of the loans from China have these tags that when they give you money, their companies must benefit from it, and our local industry and the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are not being propelled.
“Some of these loans do not address the local beatification process, and we are saying that China need to open up and be truthful about their win-win situation,” he said.
Meanwhile, Chinese Ambassador in Namibia, Zhang Yiming has said China does not have a hidden agenda with Namibia, but only wants to help the country develop, “because we have already developed”.
He added that his country maintains a foreign policy of not interfering in “the internal affairs of any country, including Namibia”.
“We should support you now because we have developed. So, we don't have any hidden agenda,” he added.