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一、经济学人杂志双语文章摘要

新公布的数据证实了蓬佩奥的说法——中国绝对是非洲以及其他地区许多贫穷国家(见图表1)最大的双边债权国。在符合G20倡议条件的73国政府所欠的外债总额中,对中国的负债约占20%(约占这些国家今年应还本息总额的30%)。这比包括美国、英国和日本在内的所有巴黎俱乐部的债权国加起来的贷款还多。但还是少于基于霍恩三人的数据估算出的超过25%的比例。事实上,他们对个别国家的估计常常大大超过世行的数据(见图表2)。 

二、经济学人杂志双语文章中英对照翻译

The debt toll 债伤总数

2020.11


The poorest countries may owe less to China than previously thought
最贫穷国家欠中国的债务可能比之前人们以为的要少 

经济学人双语杂志

THE FOUR-LANE, 62-km toll road being built between Masiaka, a business hub in Sierra Leone, and Freetown, the country’s capital, promises shorter journey times, fewer accidents and smoother drives. It is nonetheless controversial. Awarded to China Railway Seventh Group, the project added over $160m to the country’s foreign debt, according to the China-Africa Research Initiative (CARI) at Johns Hopkins University. The work has suffered delays, which the company blames on the pandemic and the need to compensate property owners, reports the Concord Times, a local newspaper. The firm has also complained that some lorries pass by the toll booths, not through them.
塞拉利昂的商业中心马西亚卡(Masiaka)和首都弗里敦(Freetown)之间正在修建一条62公里长的四车道收费公路。它有望缩短两地间的旅行时间、减少交通事故,让行驶更平稳,但还是颇有争议。据约翰斯·霍普金斯大学中非研究所(China-Africa Research Initiative,以下简称CARI)称,这个由中铁七局承建的项目让塞拉利昂增加了1.6亿多美元的外债。据当地报纸《协和时报》(Concord Times)报道,该项目进度延误,中铁七局把这归咎于新冠疫情以及需要补偿房地产业主。该公司还抱怨一些卡车绕开收费站行驶。
Projects like these have mushroomed across Africa and other developing countries in the past 15 years. “It’s no secret...China is by far the largest bilateral creditor to African governments,” said Mike Pompeo, America’s secretary of state, earlier this month, blaming it for creating an unsustainable debt burden. Plenty else is, however, secret. China does not typically divulge how much it has lent to whom or on what terms. Nor is it a member of the Paris Club of government lenders, which tries to co-ordinate debt forgiveness among its members, making sure that no lender takes advantage of the magnanimity of another.
过去15年里,类似的项目在非洲和其他发展中国家如雨后春笋般涌现。“这不是什么秘密……中国显然是非洲各国最大的双边债权国。”美国国务卿迈克·蓬佩奥在本月初表示。他指责中国造成了不可持续的债务负担。然而,除此之外,很多都是秘密。中国通常都不透露自己借给了谁多少钱,或者开出了什么条件。中国也不是巴黎俱乐部的成员。这个债权国政府的组织在成员国之间设法协调债务减免,以确保各债权国不会利用他人的慷慨占便宜。
Many, therefore, have wondered how China would play its part in the debt-relief initiative agreed in April by the G20 group of big economies. That initiative will allow 73 of the world’s poorest countries to delay payments on loans from G20 governments, freeing up resources to fight the pandemic. China, a prominent G20 member, signed up. But would it offer the same terms as the others? And if so, how would they know? Proving China is doing its bit is hard if you do not know how much it has lent.
因此,许多人想知道,在今年4月由大经济体组织G20达成的债务减免倡议中,中国将如何发挥自己的作用。该倡议将允许世界73个最贫穷国家推迟偿还G20成员政府的贷款,以留出资金来抗击新冠疫情。作为G20重要成员之一的中国也加入了倡议。但它会给出与其他国家一样的条件吗?如果是,那么它们又如何能确知呢?因为如果人们不知道中国的对外房贷数额,就很难证明它是在尽责。
Recent weeks, however, have yielded a pleasant surprise. To help monitor the G20 initiative, the World Bank told its board it wanted to reveal more data about the government debts of the eligible countries. Though its board is dominated by its bigger shareholders, including China, the bank’s plan faced little resistance. And so after cross-checking its numbers, the bank has now disclosed what eligible governments owe to bondholders, multilateral bodies, private foreign lenders and other governments. The countries covered by the data owed $104bn between them to China at the end of 2018. The total includes soft loans from China’s government, semi-soft loans from “policy banks”, such as China Development Bank, and profit-seeking loans from state-owned commercial lenders. The same countries owed $106bn to the World Bank and $60bn to bondholders.
然而,最近几周却有一个惊喜。为协助监督G20的此次倡议,世界银行向董事会表示,希望披露更多符合减免条件的国家的政府债务数据。尽管世行董事会由包括中国在内的一些大股东控制,但它的这一计划几乎没有遭到什么反对。因此在交叉核对数据之后,世界银行公布了符合减免条件的国家所欠的债务,其债权人包括债券持有者、多边机构、外国私人债权人和其他国家的政府。截至2018年底,这些数据所涉及的国家总共欠中国1040亿美元,其中包括来自中国政府的软贷款、来自中国国家开发银行等“政策性银行”的软硬混合贷款,以及国有商业银行的营利性贷款。这些国家同时还欠世行1060亿美元,欠债券持有者600亿美元。 
The data, say Deborah Brautigam and Yufan Huang of CARI, are a “gold mine”. Prior to the release, they had to scour public announcements of loan pledges, cross-checked with reports from Chinese embassies or ministry documents in the borrowing country. Their work fed into a broader set of estimates by Sebastian Horn and Christoph Trebesch of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy and Carmen Reinhart of Harvard University, who in May became the World Bank’s chief economist.
CARI的黛博拉·布罗蒂格姆(Deborah Brautigam)和黄昱帆表示,这些数据是一座“金矿”。在这些数据公布之前,他们必须四处搜罗承诺贷款的政府公告,并与中国大使馆的报告或债务国的政府部门文件反复核对。他们的成果被输入到一组涵盖面更广的估算中。做出估算的是基尔世界经济研究所(Kiel Institute for the World Economy)的塞巴斯蒂安·霍恩(Sebastian Horn)和克里斯托弗·特雷贝施(Christoph Trebesch),以及已于5月出任世行首席经济学家的哈佛大学的卡门·莱因哈特(Carmen Reinhart)。
In addition to aiding research, the data should also help the public in developing countries, says David Malpass, the World Bank’s president. Governments—and “this is not unique to developing countries”—sometimes enter into contracts that do not serve the public interest, he points out. Transparency “helps align” these contracts with “the interests of the people”.
世行行长戴维·马尔帕斯(David Malpass)表示,除了有助于研究,这些数据还应该能帮助发展中国家的民众。他指出,政府——“这并不是发展中国家所独有的(现象)”——有时签订的合同并不符合公众利益。透明度“有助于”让这些合同 “符合民众的利益”。
The new figures confirm Mr Pompeo’s observation that China is by far the biggest bilateral creditor to Africa, and in many poor countries elsewhere (see chart 1). It accounts for about 20% of the total foreign debt owed by the 73 governments eligible for the G20 initiative (and about 30% of their debt service this year). That is more than all of the Paris Club lenders, including America, Britain and Japan, combined. But it is also smaller than the estimate of over 25% based on figures from Mr Horn, Ms Reinhart and Mr Trebesch. Indeed their estimates for individual countries often exceed the bank’s by large margins (see chart 2).
新公布的数据证实了蓬佩奥的说法——中国绝对是非洲以及其他地区许多贫穷国家(见图表1)最大的双边债权国。在符合G20倡议条件的73国政府所欠的外债总额中,对中国的负债约占20%(约占这些国家今年应还本息总额的30%)。这比包括美国、英国和日本在内的所有巴黎俱乐部的债权国加起来的贷款还多。但还是少于基于霍恩三人的数据估算出的超过25%的比例。事实上,他们对个别国家的估计常常大大超过世行的数据(见图表2)。 
What explains the gap between Ms Reinhart’s research and her new employer’s data? Some of it may reflect the difference between announcements and disbursements. Just because China says it will lend money, does not mean the entire sum is paid at once (or ever). But even when Mr Horn, Ms Reinhart and Mr Trebesch look at the bank’s figures on commitments, rather than incurred debt, they find some loans missing, suggesting incomplete data.
如何解释莱因哈特的研究和她的新东家的数据之间的差距?一部分原因可能是公告所宣称的数字与实际贷款之间有出入。中国说自己会借钱,并不代表它马上就会支付全额或者一定会给。但即使霍恩三人查看的是世行承诺贷款数字而非实际债务,他们还是发现有些贷款项目缺失了,表明世行的数据是不完整的。
Another reason for the gap may be that the bank excludes some debt owed by state-owned enterprises and special-purpose vehicles but not guaranteed by the government. In other contexts the bank does consider scenarios in which state-owned firms fail or public-private partnerships sour, requiring the government to step in. Counting these as public debt brings the bank’s estimates closer to the Horn-Reinhart-Trebesch figures.
造成两者数据差距的另一个原因是世行把一些由国有企业和特殊用途实体所借、没有政府担保的贷款排除在外。而在其他一些场合中,世行确实会考虑国有企业倒闭或者公私合作关系恶化而需要政府介入的情形。把这些贷款算作政府债务会让世行的估计更接近霍恩三人的数字。
Such thought experiments could sometimes stretch the definition of public debt, though. The financing raised for Sierra Leone’s controversial toll road, for example, is supposed to be repaid from toll, not tax, revenues. It would only burden the government if those tolls fell short. The World Bank does not seem to count it as government debt—but it is included by CARI.
不过,这种思想实验有时可能会歪曲政府债务的定义。例如,为塞拉利昂受争议的收费公路筹集的资金按说应当用通行费来偿还,而不是用税收。只有在收取的通行费不够的情况下才会加重政府的负担。世行似乎没有把它算作政府债务,但CARI却把它算进去了。
The bank’s figures for Chinese lending are not always below outside estimates. For Burkina Faso, the Central African Republic and Liberia they are much higher. This, reckons Ms Brautigam, is because they include loans from Taiwan. China’s critics, including Mr Pompeo, may suspect that its true lending is higher than the bank suggests. But even they would not want to chalk up to the People’s Republic what is properly owed to Taiwan.
世行有关中国贷款的数字并不总是低于外界的估计。在中国对布基纳法索、中非共和国以及利比里亚的贷款上,世行的数字要比外界的估计高得多。布罗蒂格姆认为,这是因为世行的数字包括了台湾提供的贷款。包括蓬佩奥在内的批评中国的人可能怀疑中国真实的贷款额高于世行的数字,但即使是他们也不愿意把台湾的贷款算到中国大陆头上。