Eswatini denies ‘debt trapped’ by Taiwan
Eswatini has denied reports that it committed some public assets as collateral in case the government failed to pay Taiwan loans.
In an article, The Times of Eswatini had on 26 March reported that the government pledged to forfeit two national assets in case it failed to repay a loan for their construction.
Eswatini took a loan from Taiwan’s Exim bank for the construction of the International Convention Centre and Five Star Hotel (Fish) – to host government offices and meetings.
In a statement on Wednesday, Eswatini’s Economic Planning and Development Minister Thambo Gina said he was not aware of such an agreement, saying Eswatini laws do not allow pledging public assets as collateral for loans.
Mr Gina said the reports created “erroneous and regrettable disinformation campaign against a loyal and steadfast ally of the Kingdom of Eswatini”.
“The government of the Kingdom of Eswatini bilateral cooperation with the government of the Republic of China (Taiwan), which dates back to 1968, is above board and conforms to the constitution and the country’s laws,” Mr Gina said.
He said the two countries have over the years signed periodic agreements to guide the cooperation in agreed areas of mutual interest.
Eswatini is the only African state and one of 14 countries worldwide that maintain diplomatic relations with Taiwan – which China regards as a breakaway province.
Taiwan and Eswatini are set to celebrate 55 years of diplomatic ties in September.