China envoy Wang Yi calls Kenya economic ties a 'win-win'

Wang Yi in Kenya

President William Ruto with the Director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Communist Party of China's Central Committee Wang Yi at State House, Nairobi on July 22.

Photo credit: Courtesy | PCS

Nairobi, Kenya

China's top diplomat Wang Yi during a visit to Kenya on Saturday praised the two countries' economic partnership as a "win-win", according to a statement from the Chinese authorities.

Kenya and China have "become good friends with mutual trust in politics and good partners with win-win economic cooperation", according to the statement from the Chinese embassy in Kenya. 

With the most dynamic economy in East Africa, Kenya is considered by the international community as a stable democracy in a troubled region. 

China is the second-largest donor to Kenya after the World Bank. 

In Mombasa, on the Kenyan coast, China is financing the construction of a new terminal in East Africa's largest port.

China has also loaned $5 billion  (4.7 billion euros) toward the most expensive infrastructure project in the country since its independence in 1963: a train line that since 2017 has connected the port city Mombasa with Naivasha, in the Rift Valley, via the capital Nairobi. 

"The landmark project of the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway has completely changed the face of Kenya," the embassy's statement said. 

Kenyan President William Ruto, elected last year, in a tweet, stressed "our commitment to strengthening the Kenya-China strategic partnership centred on infrastructure development, climate change"

But China is often accused of using its creditor status for gaining diplomatic or trade concessions, raising concerns about many African countries' ability to assume the debts contracted. 

China, the world's number two economy, rejects practising "debt-trap diplomacy" as an unfair criticism from Western rivals who have themselves burdened nations with huge debts

Kenya's economy is particularly burdened by debts of $70 billion, around 67 percent of its GDP. 

After visiting Kenya, Wang will visit South Africa on July 24 and 25 ahead of the BRICS summit next month, a group that includes South Africa, Brazil, China, India and Russia.