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英语阅读:非洲国家的债务水平

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在一些非洲国家,上世纪80年代和90年代不可持续的债务水平如今正在回响,媒体声称中国正在推动它们大举借债。
 
 
在厌倦了美国和欧洲的伙伴关系之后,非洲开始转向亚洲,特别是中国,寻求所谓的真正的、双赢的合作。
 
 
通过这种友谊,非洲国家正在寻求修复破旧的道路,修复破损的铁路系统,修建港口和现代化,扩大能源供应,同时促进粮食生产,使其能够养活其人民并出口剩余的粮食。
 
 
通过让中国启动其经济,非洲认识到一个事实,即一个不断增长的经济将产生巨大的连锁反应——为其不断增长的人口创造就业机会,并促进收入和投资。目前,中非合作方兴未艾。在交通和能源领域,中国在肯尼亚、尼日利亚、埃塞俄比亚和赞比亚等国投资修建铁路。例如,中国进出口银行(Export-Import Bank of China)为亚的斯亚贝巴轻轨铁路(Addis Ababa Light Railway)提供了约85%的融资。亚的斯亚贝巴轻轨铁路耗资4.75亿美元,服务于400多万人。
 
 
国际能源署(International Energy Agency) 2016年的一份报告称,2010年至2015年,在撒哈拉以南非洲地区新增产能中,有30%来自以主要承包商身份运营的中国公司。报告进一步指出,2010年至2020年,中国承包商在撒哈拉以南非洲地区建造或承包了170万千瓦的发电能力,相当于芬兰的总装机容量。通过这些中国主导的非洲电力项目,预计在2010年至2020年期间,将有1.2亿人通过电网获得电力。
 
 
没有实施可持续发展的手段,就不可能实现可持续发展。这就解释了为什么自2000年以来,非洲国家获得的贷款超过890亿美元,使中国成为非洲大陆最大的债权国之一。随着非洲国家对资金需求的增加,使其达到可以自主开发的水平,毫无疑问,中国的贷款数额会上升。
 
 
对于各国为何向中国申请贷款,批评之声此起彼伏。有人认为这些贷款是当今的殖民主义。最终,部分西方媒体断言,非洲将陷入中国的债务陷阱。与这些指控截然不同的是,非洲领导人及其人民最终将决定他们各自的国家是否会谨慎地将资金用于产生更高回报的项目。
 
 
的技术头脑和拥有世界公众参与国家大事,加上无数带来高回报的投资机会,这将是几乎不可能的国家进入一个循环借贷和re-borrowing,或将贷款展期,除非借来的金额经常性支出。
 
 
这就是为什么我强烈赞同国际货币基金组织(IMF)非洲部主任阿贝埃姆罗塞拉西(Abebe Aemro Selassie)的观点。塞拉西认为,尽管借款增加引发了恐慌,但大多数非洲国家的债务水平是可控的。
 
 
但事实不应导致粗心和不必要的借贷。必须指出的是,许多非洲国家仍在遭受世界银行和国际货币基金组织的贷款,这些贷款在上世纪80年代和90年代几乎使它们陷入瘫痪。在这段期间,债务危机占主导地位,主要是由于各国为非发展问题借款。当时非洲国家正遭受管理问题的困扰,国内市场年轻,资金有限,大多数非洲国家缺乏关键的生产要素。
 
 
这就是为什么当非洲领导人向国际市场寻求任何财政支持时,他们必须表明是否真的需要借款。重要的是,所确定的贷款投资的项目必须产生比贷款利息更高的回报。当一个国家发现自己陷入财务困境,已经借款但无法偿还贷款时,通常情况下,它需要与贷款人协商,以获得有利的还款条件。在理想的情况下,各国应努力保持低债务与gdp的比率,因为这是一种指标,表明一个经济体生产和销售的商品和服务足以偿还债务,而不会招致更多债务。

The echoes of 1980s and 1990s unsustainable debt levels in some African countries are reverberating today with claims in the media that China is pushing them into a borrowing spree.
 
Having grown weary of the US' and Europe's partnership that yielded little transformation, Africa is turning to Asia, especially China, for what has been referred to as a genuine and win-win cooperation. 
 
Through this friendship, African countries are seeking to have their dilapidated roads repaired, broken-down railway system fixed, ports built and modernized and energy supplies expanded besides boosting food production that would enable them to feed their people and export the surplus. 
 
By letting China jump-start its economy, Africa appreciates the fact that a growing economy would have huge ripple effects - generate jobs for its growing population and boost incomes and investments. So far, Sino-African cooperation has been flourishing. In transport and energy, China has invested in building railways in Kenya, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Zambia, among others. The Export-Import Bank of China, for instance, provided about 85 percent of the financing for the $475 million Addis Ababa Light Railway which serves more than 4 million people. 
 
A 2016 report by the International Energy Agency says Chinese companies operating as the main contractors were responsible for 30 percent of new capacity energy additions in sub-Saharan Africa between 2010-15. It went further to note that Chinese contractors have built or have been contracted to build 17 gigawatts of generation capacity in sub-Saharan Africa from 2010 to 2020, equivalent to Finland's total installed capacity. Through these Chinese-led power projects in Africa, it is expected that in the period 2010 to 2020, a total of 120 million people will gain access to electricity through the power grid.
 
No sustainable development can happen without the means to implement it. That explains why more than $89 billion has been loaned to African countries since 2000 to date, making China one of the biggest creditors on the continent. With the increased demand for funds to bring African countries to a level that they can drive their own development vehicle, there is little doubt the Chinese loan amount would go up.
 
Criticism has been mounting about why countries are approaching China for loans. It has been argued that the loans are a present-day version of colonialism. Eventually, sections of Western media have asserted that Africa would be engulfed in a Chinese debt trap. Far from the allegations, it is Africa's leadership and its people that would ultimately determine if their respective countries would borrow and use the money prudently in projects that would generate higher returns or not.  
 
In a world that is technologically savvy and boasts of public participation on issues of national importance, coupled with innumerable investment opportunities that would bring in high returns, it would be almost impossible for a country to enter into a cycle of borrowing and re-borrowing, or rolling over loans, unless the amounts borrowed are put in recurrent expenditure.
 
That is why I strongly concur with Abebe Aemro Selassie, director of the Africa Department at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), who argues that despite the alarm raised over increased borrowing, most African countries' debt levels are manageable.
 
But the fact should not lead to careless and unnecessary borrowing. It is imperative to note that many African countries are still suffering from the World Bank and IMF loans that almost crippled them in the 1980s and 1990s. During this period, debt crisis was dominant, chiefly due to the fact that countries were borrowing for non-development issues. African countries were then suffering from governance issues, domestic markets were young with limited finances and most African states lacked the key factors of production.
 
That is why when they approach the international market for any financial support, Africa leaders must tell if there is really a need to borrow. Importantly, the identified project where the borrowed money is to be invested in must generate a higher return than the interest to be paid on the loan. When a country finds itself in a financial hole such that it has already borrowed but cannot service the loan, common sense dictates that it negotiate with its lender for a favorable repayment terms. In an ideal situation, countries should strive to maintain a low debt-to-GDP ratio for it is an indicator that an economy is producing and selling goods and services enough to pay back debts without incurring further debt.

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