How Kenya and African Countries can Avoid Chinese Debt Diplomacy

That Kenya has fallen into China’s debt diplomacy is unfortunate.

The idea that such profound contracts and investments would be made without a robust public engagement or participation brings into question the role of Parliament in oversight of government. In light of this, the revelations of the gaps in the China-Kenya Standard Gauge Railway contract by the Sunday Nation, go further to suggest the agreement goes beyond economic interests of Kenya. Perhaps there could have been political interests at play noting the timing and context of the agreement. This cannot be ignored as Kenya’s legal and international trade experts disparage the terms and conditions of the contract.

There are good examples such as the US Congress’ role to hold President Donald Trump’s push to build a wall between his country and Mexico to enhance border security. That the government would end in a shutdown demonstrates the power and independence of the Congress and the opposition — the Democrats. Contrary to that, the diminishing independence Kenya’s Parliament has come to haunt the image and prestige of the country, as well as the day-to-day living of Wanjiku, having to pay more taxes to meet the negative balance of trade and debt brought by the China-Kenya agreement.  

What then could be the immediate, medium-term and long-term stopgap measures out of the impending predicament?

Published by Joel Okwemba

Budding intellectual and practitioner of diplomacy focused on enhancing the peace and security agenda through a multi-sectoral approach and research. Managing Director of the Centre for International and Security Affairs.

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