China Omits Kenya From List Of Countries To Benefit From Loan Relief

The Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) train at a railway station
The Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) train at Kibwezi railway station.
Kenya Railways

China has left out Kenya from the list of countries that will benefit from loan relief as it moves to support poorest countries in Africa.

According to Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, the programme targets countries that are struggling to repay their debt.

China, which forms part of developed economies in the world accounts for key infrastructure development projects on the continent, including Kenya.

Yi, who spoke to Nation, stated that Kenya was left out of the deal because it is classified as lower-middle income, which according to scheduled facility, the country is not included.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and China's President Xi Jinping During a Past Meeting
President Uhuru Kenyatta and China's President Xi Jinping During a Past Meeting

“The African countries mentioned here refer to the least developed countries. Therefore, Kenya is not on this list,” Wang Yi stated.

Kenya is currently the largest economy in East and Central Africa and joined the league of the world’s lower middle-income nations in 2014.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China, said the facility programme was launched by China's President Xi Jinping for China-Africa cooperation in November last year to grow traditional friendship between China and Africa.

"China will continue to actively support and participate in the construction of major infrastructure in Africa through financing, investment and assistance.

We will also continue to increase imports from Africa, support the greater development of Africa’s agricultural and manufacturing sectors, and expand cooperation in emerging industries such as the digital economy, health, green and low-carbon sectors," the Ministry stated.

China will waive the 23 interest-free loans for 17 African countries that had matured by the end of 2021.

The Asian country accounts for the highest rate of Kenya’s 2021-22 external debt service costs, a second largest creditor after the World Bank.

In July this year, Chinese ambassador to Kenya, Zhou Pingjian revealed that Kenya owes China 10 per cent of its total debt. National Treasury data shows that China’s total debt to Kenya dropped to Ksh793 billion in March this year from Ksh806 billion last December.

According to the 2020 World Bank report, however, South Africa, an upper middle-income country, is Africa's largest economy, followed by Angola, Kenya and Ethiopia. Seychelles and Mauritius are the region’s only high-income economies.

Logo at the entrance of World Bank Building in Washington DC, USA.
World Bank offices in Washington DC, USA.