Kenya through its capital city Nairobi will play a major link role in the Chinese signature global infrastructure project eyeing to move at least 25 percent of global cargo through several countries.
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Nairobi which stands out in the “One Belt, One Road” initiative will be China’s key Africa link on the belt that cuts through several other countries in Asia and Europe.
The East African economic giant has already completed the first phase of a Chinese funded rail project linking its coast where a seaport terminal for the route from India will be a major stopover before Djibouti and then onto the red sea as it proceeds to Greek according to the design map of the project.
Kenya’s role as a regional hub for airlines with its 2.5 million passenger transit capacity per year and 25 cargo airlines at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport will further position it better in the Chinese strategic advance expected to touch more than two-thirds of the global populace.
The initiative dubbed President Xi Jinping’s signature foreign policy bid is expected to alter the global economic order traditionally dominated by the US and institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
Chinese contractors already have a heavy presence in Africa where they command more than half the infrastructure projects from roads, seaports, railroads, and energy projects.
The firms are also in remote regions of the continent traditionally left out by the Western investments which remain small, given the continent’s size, population, and needs.
In the ambitious strategy, China hopes to build a physical road (the road), and a maritime Silk Road (the belt) with both covering about 65 percent of the world’s population where about one-third of the world’s GDP is transacted.
Kenya recently joined the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) which is expected to be a major financial muscle for the project.
The Beijing based bank admitted Kenya and Papua New Guinea to join the pool of 86 countries angling for cheaper infrastructure funding from China even though the countries ballooning debt has been raising alarms from various quarters.