With a debt already close to 70% of its GDP, the IMF projects that Kenya plans to borrow $12.4bn from foreign sources by June 2022. This, at ... a time when the country is at a high risk of debt distress and subject to zero limits on non-concessional borrowing. But the distress is also having a cause and effect on its population.
It is impossible to count the number of projects led by Chinese construction groups on the continent. From the Foundiougne toll bridge being completed in Senegal to the urban motorway under construction in Nairobi, not to mention the recent railway contract with Tanzania and Cairo’s Iconic Tower, Africa’s future tallest tower, Beijing has a huge appetite for African projects. And – until now at least – it has had enough money to finance them.
The wave of Chinese projects on the continent began more than 20 years ago after the Middle Kingdom launched its “Going Out” doctrine in 1999 and has only grown stronger over the years. Today, it is on par with President Xi Jiping’s international ambitions and the weight of the companies he is dragging in his wake.