Kenya signs $5bn development deal with China

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Kenya strikes a new development deal designed to encourage greater investment in emerging African markets
Money from a $5bn development deal will be used to create a new railway line and numerous energy projects in a bid to improve Kenya’s infrastructure. The new standard gauge rail link will connect the port of Mombasa in the east to the town of Malaba, which lies near the Ugandan border.  The new development is intended to facilitate the distribution of goods and raw materials deemed essential for the country’s development.

Some of the money has been set aside in order to improve protection for the country’s wildlife. Kenya has a long history of poaching, born largely of Chinese demand for elephant tusks and rhino horns, and there is a huge black market for the items in Asia, which are used in traditional, albeit useless medicines. As a result, population figures for both animals have plummeted in the area.

During his stay, Kenya’s president urged China to provide greater investment to help expand the country’s newly discovered oil sector. The Kenyan government wants to use its new ties with China to assist in the completion of the $25.5bn Lamu project. The venture will help develop trade links between Sudan, Ethiopia and the Indian Ocean port of Lamu in Kenya.

The $5bn contract was signed during the Beijing leg of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta’s state tour where he was welcomed by President Xi Jinping in a rather elaborate ceremony. China has come under heavy scrutiny for its willingness to overlook human rights violations that occurred in Kenya back in 2007. In particular countries like Britain and the US have expressed strong criticism since stating they would distance themselves from the country should Kenyatta succeed at election. Kenyatta along with his Deputy William Ruto will face trial at the International Criminal Court, for crimes against humanity. The two men are believed to have played a part in the violence that followed the 2007 election that saw Mwai Kibaki elected.

The support provided by the Chinese is crucial if the African continent is going to really grow in the coming years. Better infrastructure is necessary for nations in the region to conduct intra-regional trade on a massive scale and the investment long term will allow China to stake its claim in the emerging African economies, reaping the rewards in natural resources the continent has to offer.

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