Kenya tops the world in China projects completion ahead of schedule
Kenya tops the world in completing China-funded projects ahead of schedule under Beijing’s global infrastructure development strategy.
The is according to research findings by a top US research university- College of William & Mary.
The findings are contained in a report titled “Banking on the Belt and Road”.
It covered 13,427 projects worth $843 billion (Ksh93.23 trillion) in 165 countries all funded by China over 18 years.
The research established five projects in Kenya completed ahead of the schedule between 2013 and 2017, putting the country top amongst countries that have benefited from China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
Researchers attributed the fast pace of implementing China projects in the country partly to President Kenyatta taking ownership.
In addition, Chinese contractors were acting quickly to stifle resistance.
“The … dataset demonstrates that some countries are encountering fewer obstacles than others during the implementation of BRI infrastructure projects,” the researchers wrote.
“Kenya is at the top of the list (of countries in the dataset with the highest number of BRI infrastructure projects completed ahead of schedule).”
Kenya is followed by Indonesia, Mongolia, and Cameroon which separately had three projects done ahead of timetable, while Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, and Zambia had two projects each.
According to the researchers, China has over the last two decades established itself as a financier of first resort for many low- and middle-income countries, providing record amounts of international development finance.
Beijing’s lending and grant-giving activities have outpaced the US in overseas development finance programme, committing about $85 billion (Ksh9.4 trillion) every year.
The researchers singled out $3.5 billion, 475-kilometre Mombasa-Nairobi standard gauge railway (SGR), funded more than 85 percent by China’s Exim Bank, for having been built at an “astonishingly fast pace”.
The SGR was completed 18 months ahead of schedule, having started on December 12, 2014, and completed on May 31, 2017.
The researchers wrote: “President Kenyatta acted as the “project owner” and assumed responsibility for resolving politically contentious matters that could delay or derail the project. He also identified a specific goal to guide the efforts of everyone involved in project implementation: putting the railway into operation before he stood for re-election in August 2017.”
China’s influence on the country’s infrastructure development started with the construction of the Thika Superhighway at a cost of Ksh32 billion ($291 million) during the former President Mwai Kibaki.
CRBC, a subsidiary of China Communications Construction Company, has gotten the lion’s share of Kenya’s mega infrastructure deals besides SGR.
The projects include Southern and Eastern Bypass in Nairobi as well as a $398 million (Ksh44.02 billion) oil terminal at Kenya’s main port of Mombasa.
The CRBC has done at least two ports projects, two railways, and 23 road projects in Kenya, the report concludes.