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Kenya – China Relations: President Ruto to attend Third Belt and Road Forum International Cooperation

Kenya – China Relations: President Ruto to attend Third Belt and Road Forum International Cooperation

Kenya’s President William Ruto is visiting the Republic of China for a 3-day Official Visit that will underscore the robust bilateral relations between Kenya and China, and highlight Kenya’s active participation in the 3rd Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

The third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation will take place in Beijing from October 17 to 18 under the theme “High-quality Belt and Road Cooperation: Together for Common Development and Prosperity,”

Chinese President Xi Jinping will attend the opening ceremony of the forum and deliver a keynote speech, after which he will hold a welcoming banquet and bilateral events for the guests.

The forum will bring together world leaders in Beijing for talks on cooperation and partnership, emphasizing infrastructure development and enhanced connectivity across continents and peoples.

During the event, Ruto will deliver a keynote address headlined “Digital Economy as a New Source of Growth,” at the High-Level Forum, highlighting Kenya’s advancements in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and innovation.

Currently, Kenya is a key participant in the BRI, with notable signature projects such as the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).

At the same time, President Ruto will also hold bilateral talks with his host President Xi Jinping and other world leaders to discuss matters of mutual benefit and cooperation.

Additionally, the President will participate in a Kenya-China investors roundtable to emphasize Kenya’s standing as an investment hub for Chinese companies, aiming to forge mutually beneficial partnerships for both nations and their peoples.

Kenya to seek $1 billion from China for stalled railway, ‘more time’ to repay debts

Theforum will also provide an opportunity for Kenya’s president to ask China for $1 billion to finance stalled infrastructure projects.

Likewise, Kenya’s President will also seek loan restructuring, by asking China for more time and more money by repaying slowly.

During an interview with a Nairobi based radio station, Kenya’s Deputy indicated that they are seeking $1 billion to complete different road project’s.

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“If we get $1 billion we will be able to give contractors the money they are owed so they can return so even as we pay the debt, the roads are completed,” Kenya’s Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua stated.

Kenya currently has about $8 billion in Chinese loans, most of it used by the administration of Ruto’s predecessor Uhuru Kenyatta to build the Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) and highways.

However, seeking more funding from China would be a shift in stance for Ruto’s administration which has criticised the previous regime for burdening the country with Chinese loans.