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AFRICA

Sierra Leone Cancels China-funded Project

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Sierra Leone has cancelled a $400m (£304m) Chinese-funded project to build a new airport outside the capital Freetown.

Former President Ernest Bai Koroma signed the loan agreement with China before he lost elections in March.

At the time, the World Bank and the IMF warned that the project would impose a heavy debt burden.

The decision comes amid concern that many African countries risk defaulting on their debts to China.

Aviation Minister Kabineh Kallon told the BBC that the project, which was due to have been completed in 2022, wasn’t necessary and the country’s current international airport would be renovated instead.

Mr Kallon said he did not know whether the cancelled contract would lead to financial implications, and Sierra Leone remained on good terms with China.

“I do have the right to take the best decision for the country,” he told the BBC’s Focus on Africa programme.

China’s ambassador to Sierra Leone, Wu Peng, told the BBC that relations would not sour between the two countries.

“I don’t think the airport project should affect our future bilateral relations,” he said.



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