Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) president Felix Mutati has said debt that most African countries have was stressing their economies.
He said the debt was negatively impacting on the exchange rate as well as most country’s current account deficits.
In an interview from Egypt where he was attending a business forum, Mutati said most African countries are under economic pressure due to their indebtedness.
“Most of the African countries are under the pressure of debt which is putting alot of pressure on our economic stability. It is impacting on the foreign exchange rate and the foriegn reserves,” he said.
He further noted that the debt was also slowing down growth in most of the African countries because the liquidity in the economies has been constrained thereby having an effect on the access to money.
Mutati also revealed that leaders discussed a number of ways on how they can improve the continent’s engagement with China.
He said the continent should be smart enough to realise that China needs Africa as much as Africa needs China and ensure that negotiators strike deals that represent the interest of the people.
The opposition leader who was amongst the eminent men and women invited to participate in the week-long deliberations, said there is need for governments to strenthen their governance institutions and ensure that rules and regulations are strictly enforced when dealing with not only Chinese investors but all the investors coming into the continent.
“A number of commentators raised the concerns of debt associated with China and let me say this; China needs Africa in as much as Africa needs China.
“The dragon has landed, the African Lion must now dance with it but we must create a balance between the African Lion and the Chinese Drangon,” he said.
He called on the think-tanks in Africa to be smart and be able to define the terms of engagement within the conducive regulations that would elevate the levels of economic performance.
“We must be smart. We must be able to go to the table of negotiations very clear and strategic knowing what we want from the transaction. We must be alive to the fact that at the table of transactions investors will always protect their interests so we too must protect our territory and all other assets on our continent,” he advised.
He said the Chinese are looking for the expansion of their market in the wake of trade differences they have been having with the United States of America and are now Africa comes in as an opportunity.