Uganda’s Finance Ministry said there is “certainly a possibility” that the country will be among the 17 African countries to be forgiven of interest-free debt, The Monitor newspaper said.

In August, China’s Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi said that Beijing would waive 23 interest-free loans for 17 African countries that had matured by 2021-end.

Moses Kaggwa, acting director of economic affairs at the Finance Ministry, said that the issues are still being discussed and the terms of “forgiveness are not very obvious”. 

The official did not provide details on whether Uganda had interest-free loans with China but maintained that Uganda currently has interest-bearing loans with the Asian giant.

However, Aid Data, a research lab housed at William & Mary’s Global Research Institute in Scotland, said that the Chinese government signed an agreement with Uganda for a 26 billion Shilling ($6.87 billion) 10-year interest-free loan for implementing “unidentified development programmes” in 2012.

“So far, Uganda has no interest-free loans,” the newspaper quoted a Chinese official at the embassy in Kampala.

He said that the 2012 loan might have already been forgiven, but if not, then Uganda will be on the list.

(Editing by Seban Scaria )