Chinese financing underscores
Chinese financing has been key to Ecuador’s development, Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa said Friday.
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]C[/dropcap]hina has provided essential funding for strategic projects, such as power plants and highways, Correa said in an interview in Bahia de Caraquez, one of the cantons worst hit by a powerful earthquake that devastated communities along the country’s Pacific coast on April 16.
“China is Ecuador’s leading financier,” and its loans have served to overcome “the economic deficit we have to be able to continue providing the country with public works,” said Correa.
“China provides capital to finance projects, such as hydroelectric plants, multipurpose projects, highways and more, so what is the problem? What’s wrong with that?” Correa said, in response to recent criticism from the political opposition claiming the country is taking on a large debt burden.
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]he falling price of oil, Ecuador’s main export, combined with the cost of rebuilding quake-hit communities, estimated to cost some 3.344 billion U.S. dollars, have made the government fall behind in paying back its debt to state suppliers.
In January, the Finance Ministry announced that the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) had agreed to grant the South American country a loan of 970 million U.S. dollars over a five-year period.
On Friday, Correa also brushed away fears the country is overburdened by debt.
“Debt is the least of Ecuador’s problems. We are among the six least indebted countries in Latin America,” said Correa, adding that the national debt currently amounted to 33 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP).
Ecuador’s Constitution places a ceiling on the national debt, at 40 percent of the GDP, which would be just over 40 billion dollars.
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