Asian giant’s local links tell of growth, debt, and suspicion

Transport Principal Secretary Irungu Nyakera and the Chairman of China Road and Bridge Corporation Wen Gang unveil the Standard Gauge Railway Corporate Social Responsibility Report for 2015 at Intercontinental Hotel in Nairobi on March 24, 2016. Last year, KeNHA awarded seven of 11 major road construction contracts to Chinese contractors earning them Sh90.6 billion. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • Nairobi’s Hurlingham area is already starting to shape itself up as Kenya’s Chinatown with its array of restaurants, supermarkets and other facilities targeting Chinese people.
  • Kenya’s debt to China stood at Sh262 billion ($2.6 billion) in June last year, up from Sh82.9 billion ($821 million) a year earlier and Sh14.7 billion ($146 million) in 2010.

While some Kenyans have a negative perception about Chinese products for their alleged unreliability, cheapness and for often being counterfeits, Kenya’s ties with China have deepened considerably in recent years.

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