Kenya among top three in Africa with huge debt owed to China


A report by China Africa Research Initiative has ranked Kenya as the third country in Africa with a huge debt owed to China between 2000 and 2017.

As at the end of 2017, Kenya owes China sh980 billion with the borrowing having reduced from the 2014 to 2016. The report indicates that Angola is the leading country in Africa owing China sh4.28 trillion followed by Ethiopia whose debts stands at sh1.37 trillion and then followed by Kenya and other nations.

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“Other top ten debtors of China from Africa include Republic of Congo (sh742 billion),Sudan (sh649 billion),Zambia (sh637 billion), Cameroon (sh556 billion),Nigeria (sh483 billion) Ghana (sh349 billion) and DRC (sh343 billion),Uganda (sh296.8 billion), Tanzania (sh234.7 billion),” read the report.

A huge part of Kenya’s loan went into the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway and the building of roads in the country with the first phase of the SGR costing sh327 billion out of the sh370 billion borrowed from China in 2014.The first phase of the SGR stretches from Mombasa to Nairobi.

In 2015, the country borrowed sh257 billion and in 2016 we borrowed another sh109.5 billion followed by sh64 billion top up in 2017 totaling to sh980 billion.
In a breakdown of the debt owed to China by Africa, the data shows that the total loans amount to sh14.3 trillion in which a huge chunk of the money having gone into the transport infrastructure, power development and mining.

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Recently, President Uhuru Kenya was among other African leaders who congregated in the Asian country for the Forum on China-Africa cooperation where the Chinese offered to add sh6 trillion to its loan kitty to Africa with sh5 trillion coming from the Chinese government while the rest from the private sector.

“China loan finance is varied. Some government loans qualify as ‘official development aid’. But other Chinese loans are export credits, suppliers’ credits, or commercial, not concessional in nature. China is not Africa’s largest donor. That honor still belongs to the United States,” the report explained. 

Presidents Kenyatta four-item agenda continues to gather momentum in the country as it grapples with the fact that other flagship projects are not yet complete which include the LAPPSET project, expansion and modernization of Malindi, Isiolo and Lokichogio airports . The second and third phase of the SGR from Nairobi to Malaba is also expected to kick off soon.
President Kenya in a meeting with Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) Chairman Wang Yang revealed plans by Kenya is  to open two new consulates to in China to enhance bilateral relations between the two countries.

“I intend to establish Consulate generals in Guangzhou and Shanghai to facilitate the growing interaction between our peoples,” said President Kenyatta.