China just quietly wrote off a chunk of Cameroon’s debt. Why the secrecy?

(CNN)When top Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi met Cameroon President Paul Biya in the capital Yaounde last month and wrote off a chunk of the African country’s debt, the deal very nearly went unnoticed. But while the news report was wrong, its release did force the Chinese government to speak publicly about what type of deal had been reached. Last week, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told CNN: “China agreed to waive the interest-free inter-governmental debt that Cameroon had not paid back by the end of 2018.” That debt was worth $78.4 million. Cameroon’s total debt is 5.8 trillion Central African CFA francs ($10 billion), about a third of which is owed to China, according to the International Monetary Fund. …