A report by the United States government has alleged that China is leveraging its economic influence from African countries to achieve its quest for global supremacy.
In the 2023 report to the US Congress, the US-China Economic and Review Commission claims that the majority of the African countries, including Kenya, fall victim to China’s demands owing to the challenges of servicing the debt.
Some of the demands issued to Kenya include the deportation of 45 Taiwan nationals to face charges in a telecom scam involving Chinese nationals.
“In one high-profile case, Kenya, one of the highest recipients of BRI investment in Africa, agreed to extradite to mainland China 45 Taiwan citizens implicated in a telecom equipment scam that targeted Chinese nationals, despite protests from Taiwan.”
President William Ruto attends the Investors’ Roundtable in Beijing, China, on Tuesday, October 17, 2023.
The US noted that following the deportation, Kenya received a Ksh768 billion loan from China to open a railway from the Mombasa port to Naivasha.
“Kenya continues to deepen its economic relations with China. The year following the deportations, Kenya opened a major railway from the port of Mombasa to the city of Naivasha, financed by a Ksh768 billion ($5 billion) loan from a Chinese bank, and as of 2022, China serves as Kenya’s largest external creditor, at 22 per cent of its external debt,” read part of the report.
“Amid Kenya’s deepening reliance on Chinese financing, in 2023 Kenya’s Cabinet endorsed a formal extradition treaty with China that appears to encompass Taiwan citizens, as well, if ratified by the National Assembly.”
The aim, according to the report, is to expand the One-China policy.
The One-China policy is the principle held by the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) that states there is one sovereign state under the name of China, which involves the inclusion of Taiwan as part of China.
President Joe Biden-led administration accused China of using programs such as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to achieve the policy.
Launched in 2013, the BRI project aims to strengthen China’s connectivity with the world by changing Africa’s infrastructure. Currently, over 155 countries have signed up for the project, signalling over 75 per cent of the world’s population.
According to the United States, China has resisted appeals from other international countries over constant funding of loans to African nations.
“After a decade of predatory lending through the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), nearly 60 per cent of China’s loan holders were in financial distress in 2022, up from just 5 per cent in 2010. Beijing has resisted global appeals to address these debt challenges, instead seeking to leverage these troubles and international events to expand the use and reach of the Chinese currency.”
From left to right: First Lady Rachel Ruto, President William Ruto, Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan during a a State Banquet held in Beijing, China on October 17, 2023.