Nairobi - Kenya signed deals worth $5bn with China on Monday
to construct a railway line and an energy project, deepening ties with the
Asian country keen to expand investment in Africa.
The cash would be spent on energy projects, a standard gauge
railway linking the port of Mombasa in east Africa's biggest economy to its
border town of Malaba, meant to provide faster access from Kenya's port to
markets in the region, the presidency's media service said in a statement on
The rest would be used to improve wildlife protection, in a
country where well armed criminal gangs have killed elephants for tusks and
rhinos for their horns that are often shipped mainly to China for use in
ornaments and medicines.
It was not specified whether the cash was a loan or grant,
or whether this was all new money or part of a previously negotiated but
The deals were agreed in Beijing after talks by Kenya's new
President Uhuru Kenyatta and President Xi Jinping. Kenyatta is on a state visit
to China scheduled from Sunday to Friday.
During his first visit to Africa in March, Xi pledged to
help the continent develop, responding to concerns that China is only
interested in shipping out the continent's raw materials.
China is already key player in Kenya, constructing
capital-intensive flagship projects, mostly roads.
Quest for industrialisation
Kenyatta's visit follows a promise he made during the
presidential election campaigns preceding the 4 March 4.
He vowed to work closely with China following comments by
United States, Britain and some European officials who said they would limit
contacts with Kenyatta should he win owing to his indictment for crimes against
humanity at The Hague.
Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto both face trial at the
International Criminal Court for helping orchestrate the bloodshed that
followed the disputed 2007 election. They both deny the accusations, and
pledged to clear their names.
On Monday, Xi said China supports Kenya's quest for
industrialisation and plans to host a clearing house for the Chinese renminbi
currency in Nairobi, as part of Kenya's plans to become an international
Kenyatta urged China to invest in Kenya's newly discovered
oil sector, power generation, a technology city near the capital city and a new
port in Lamu, north of Mombasa.
The $25.5bn Lamu project would link landlocked South Sudan
and Ethiopia to the Indian Ocean port of Lamu by constructing a major highway,
a railway and an oil pipeline.