China to Kenya: It’s payback time


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Kenya’s National Treasury has resumed debt repayments to China after a 6-month debt deferral period expired in June. The Kenyan government had hoped to be able to extend that through the end of the year but Chinese creditors, namely the China Exim Bank, did not like that idea at all.

Apparently, things got so bad that Chinese creditors halted disbursements for projects that are underway right now in Kenya… bringing construction to a halt in some cases.

Kenya’s foreign exchange reserves dropped by $249 million dollars between July 15 and 21. No one has explained where that money went but it’s presumed that was the first debt payment sent to China this year. And this is only the beginning. For the 2021-2022 fiscal year that just started, Kenya is scheduled to transfer $1.1 billion to meet its debt servicing obligations with China.

The China Africa Project’s new Africa Editor, Cliff Mboya, joins Eric & Cobus this week from Nairobi to discuss the resumption of Kenya debt payments to China and what it says about the current state of China-Africa relations more broadly.