Kenyan President Courts China, Russia to Finance Infrastructure Projects

NAIROBI, Kenya

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta’s state visits to Russia and China from August 17-23 are expected to culminate in multi-billion deals to finance infrastructure projects in Kenya.

The cabinet secretaries of environment, water and natural resources, mining and infrastructure are part of the delegation accompanying Kenyatta.

Before his departure, Kenyatta assured local media that Kenya would cement bilateral cooperation with emerging powers in the east without abandoning traditional allies in the west.

Since independence, Kenya has maintained good relations with the European Union, the United States, Japan and the Gulf nations, all of whom are leading donors in areas like health, agriculture, water, sanitation and security.

However, “China is important to our trade, investments and infrastructure development. But so too are Russia, Singapore, India, Brazil and South Africa. We are investing heavily in infrastructure to strengthen our role as a regional hub,” Kenyatta said.

He said Kenya is both a diplomatic and economic hub in the region, and the country’s peaceful development has implications in eastern and central Africa.

“My government has prioritized regional integration, trade and infrastructure development as building blocks for a stable and prosperous east, central and horn of Africa. A rising Asia presents opportunities that can be tapped to enable us realize this vision,” said Kenyatta.

In his two-day stay in Russia, Kenyatta met with government officials and business executives to discuss investment opportunities in mineral exploration and upgrades to infrastructure such as roads, dams and housing.

The Presidential Press Unit said Russian companies showed interest in investing in Kenya’s agriculture sector.

In China, the president is signing bilateral agreements to finance infrastructure projects including roads, irrigation and urban services.

China pledged $5 billion USD for large-scale infrastructure and energy projects in Kenya.

The China Development Bank pledged $899.5 million USD to the Nairobi County governor to finance urban regeneration.

Early this month, the Chinese government signed a memorandum of understanding with the ministry of environment, water and natural resources to strengthen conservation of ecosystems like watersheds, wildlife and forests.

 

This story is brought to readers free in association with Singapore International Water Week.

 

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