China has now set the record straight regarding the debt Kenya owes the Asian economic power house.
Through a statement published on Monday, July 4, the Chinese ambassador to Kenya, Zhou Pingjian revealed that the country only owes China 10 per cent of its total debt.
The envoy argued that reports going around blaming China for overburdening the country with loans are not true but misinformation meant to mislead Kenyans.
According to him, other Western nations are the leading creditors to Kenya.
“Western investors, often in the forms of multilateral financial institutions and commercial creditors, are the largest creditors of African countries such as Kenya. According to the World Bank’s 2022 International Debt Statistics, 28.8 per cent of Africa’s external debt comes form multilateral financial institutions and 41.8 per cent from commercial creditors. Together they account for nearly three-fourths of Africa’s total debt,” Pingjian stated.
Ambassador Pingjian noted that China lends Kenya and other African countries following customary business practices and respecting the country’s sovereignty.
The Asian country further noted that it only offers to help when need is and when approached by African leaders including Kenyan government leaders.
“China always respects the wishes of the African people and China’s financing to Africa mainly focuses on infrastructure and manufacturing-related sectors to meet the region’s real needs.
In addition, China has never attached any political strings to debt agreements, never forced any African country to take out loans, and never pressed for debt service by any African country. Not a single African country slid into debt predicaments or has been forced to mortgage its ports, mines, or other strategic resources to China just because it has financing cooperation with China,” the Chinese ambassador clarified.
This comes even as the Members of Parliament increased the public debt ceiling to Ksh10 trillion as a stop-gap measure to allow the next government to borrow Ksh846 billion to plug the budget deficit in the fiscal year starting July 1.
Revealing the data on the projects they have funded, China noted that it has built over 100,000 kilometers of highway, 1,000 bridges, 100 ports, and even schools.
In the country, China has been critical in the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), Nairobi Expressway, Thika Super Highway, and Lake Turkana- Suswa power line transmission among others.
They have also been at the center of maintaining a number of projects in the country. For instance, the Moja Expressway is a subsidiary of China Road and Bridge Corporation(CRBC) has been tasked with operating the Nairobi Expressway.
For SGR operations, Chinese experts worked on the project before surrendering the operations to the Kenyan government.