China is likely to take over Kenya’s main port

If the Kenyan government failed to repay the debts of $ 3.21 billion to China taken up for an ongoing major railway project, China would possibly take the port of Mombasa as an alternative.
SGR (Standard Gauge Railway) a 472-kilometer line from Mombasa Nairobi, where work started in 2013, and become operational in 2017, was proposed to start giving back the loan from 2020 onward. But, since it became operational, the company is going in loss of nearly $2 million annually.
In the agreement, the Kenyan government held the very least portion. As per the Auditor-General report of 2018, the deal greatly favors China Exim Bank, which advanced Kenya the loan.
“The China Exim Bank would become a principle in [over] KPA if Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) defaults in its obligations and China Exim Bank exercise power over the escrow account security,” the audit said.
Further, thousands of Kenyan people could also be fired, which will lead to more unemployment; as Chines government probably will replace them with Chines workers.
As per the current economic position of Kenya, it seems impossible to pay the debt of China in the period of January-June 2019. Kenya owes 66 % bilateral debt to China. And if the thing won’t change dramatically, Kenya would join Srilanka in this row.
In December 2017, the Sri Lankan government lost its Hambantota port to China for a lease period of 99 years after failing to show commitment in the payment of billions of dollars in loans.
On another hand, the Chines government harshly repelled to make any such stride towards Kenya. Hua Chunying the spokeperson of Foreign Ministry said, “after applicable research by our administration we have offered loan to Kenya and as of now the venture is going on its track.”
At present, the China-Kenya cooperation on the Mombasa-Nairobi railway is progressing smoothly.
Many analysts are of the view that Chines government probably would never take this step. Consequently, it will spark negativity among African countries.
“There is a possibility that the Chinese government might be forced to forgive the loan in order to avoid negative sentiment among Kenyan citizens and increasing scrutiny from the international markets” China Daily reported.–DT

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