Kenyan and American officials have signed agreements and engagements worth more than $900 million according to the White House. This includes deals to finance wind energy and food distribution. The pacts came during the official visit of President Uhuru Kenyatta to the United States.
CGTN’s Jessica Stone reports.
According to a joint statement released by the White House, Nairobi and New York City have agreed to establish direct flights; Kenya and the U.S. will also establish a Trade and Investment Working Group and a Strategic Partnership which will see the creation of an annual dialogue. Kenya has also decided to join the U.S.-led Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS.
During a gathering of the Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU), President Kenyatta oversaw the signing of two loans for development.
According to Kenya’s State House, the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) agreed to finance two main projects in Kenya. The first is a $232 million agreement with Kipeto Wind Energy Company to finance, construct, and operate a major grid-connected wind power plant south of Nairobi. This plant will play a role in the U.S. Power Africa Initiative to provide electricity to twice the number of people in Sub-Saharan Africa that currently have it. Kenyan officials also signed a $5 million letter of commitment to finance an expansion of the distribution network of Twiga Foods.
— Uhuru Kenyatta (@UKenyatta) August 27, 2018
SEARCH FOR FOREIGN INVESTMENT
According to a UN report, Kenya experienced a big rebound last year in foreign direct investments (FDI), but still ranks fourth behind Ethiopia, Tanzania and Uganda for FDI in East Africa.
Over the summer, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross led a delegation of U.S. companies to four nations in sub-Saharan Africa where Ross announced $1 billion in deals. A White House official told CGTN that some of the deals signed Monday, were the result of that tour.
“We’re working on a major infrastructure project. A massive roadway that will be record setting in many ways,” said Trump, on Monday. Trump was referring to the Bechtel Corporation agreement to construct the nation’s first high-speed expressway known as the Mombasa-Nairobi Highway. It runs parallel to the Standard Gauge Railway, financed by Chinese investments.
The United States is currently Kenya’s fifth largest trading partner for Kenya.
China is currently Kenya’s biggest lender.
Kenya figures prominently in Beijing’s One Belt One Road initiative, which includes the Standard Gauge Railway commuter line between Nairobi and Mombasa. The China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) put $3.2 billion dollars into the project—Kenya’s largest infrastructure project since gaining independence in 1963.
With increasing frequency, Trump administration officials are warning countries against accepting loans from Beijing. The White House says it intends to reform OPIC to provide another option, but so far, the U.S. can’t match Beijing’s offers.
“I don’t think we have expectation that countries will not trade with China. I do think that countries need to be very careful about the kinds of arrangements they enter into,” a White House official said on condition of anonymity. “We are trying to provide alternatives.”
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