President William Ruto’s administration has remained silent on details of the meeting between the Head of State and Chinese President Xi Jinping on October 18.
Before the meeting, it had been reported that Kenya would ask for a Ksh152 billion (USD1 billion), but State House, Kenya did not reveal if the credit negotiations were possible.
On Tuesday, Jinping shared snippets of what was discussed by the two leaders during Ruto’s visit to China.
According to Xi, China was exploring more ways to partner with Kenya but came short of promising direct financial assistance in the form of a loan.
President William Ruto shakes hands with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on October 18, 2023
“China encourages more Chinese enterprises to invest in Kenya, expand cooperation in the digital economy, new energy and other fields, and help Kenya realize green development,” Jinping explained the scope of China’s help to Kenya.
Kenya was also encouraged to improve the balance of trade between the two countries through the exportation of high-quality agricultural products.
Since President William Ruto assumed office, he has sought financial assistance from the West and largely ignored the East, which former Presidents Mwai Kibaki and Uhuru Kenyatta preferred.
In an apparent reference to that, Xi Jinping remarked that Kenya was free to undertake an independent exploration of its own path of modernisation in line with the country’s actual situation.
This was followed by a statement that Kenya should be honest when dealing with other countries.
“China approaches its relationship with Kenya from a strategic and long-term perspective and is ready to work with Kenya to promote the continued development of the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries.
“The two sides need to strengthen communication and collaboration in multilateral settings to practice true multilateralism and safeguard the common interests of developing countries,” Xi Jinping told Ruto.
It was not immediately clear if the questioning of Kenya’s multilateralism could have been one of the reasons China did not pronounce outright financial support to Ruto.
The Chinese President further reminded Ruto how his country had supported most of Kenya’s ambitious infrastructure projects.
In particular, Jinping pointed out to Ruto that it was because of China that Kenya had the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway and the oil terminal at Mombasa Port.
A Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) train while in transit on June 18, 2021.