Kenya in talks with China over debt suspension request

The Chinese government is keen to facilitate Kenya’s request for debt suspension in a bid to ease pressure on the economy that has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

Responding to a myriad of inquiries over whether Beijing would accede to debt relief request from Nairobi, the Chinese Embassy in Kenya noted that this is a matter that is currently under deliberation and there is no reason to believe it will not be done.

The Embassy spokesperson Huang Xueqing confirmed in a statement Friday evening that “both sides are now keeping efficient communication through a smooth channel.”

“We stand ready to strengthen coordination with Kenya and assist Kenya in its efforts to address debt challenges.” She said

She reiterated that China attaches great importance to debt suspension and alleviation in African countries including Kenya and is committed to fully implementing the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI).

“Africa’s need is always China’s concern.” She stressed

The spokesperson indicated that China has already signed debt service suspension agreements with 12 African countries and provided waivers of matured interest-free loan for 15 African countries under the G20 framework.

According to the embassy in Nairobi, China has suspended more debt service than any other G20 member. The China International Development Cooperation Agency and the Export-Import Bank of China have implemented all eligible debt suspension requests of the developing nations.

Throughout the course of the pandemic, Beijing has been renegotiating and canceling loans to African countries due to the resultant financial crisis.

Information availed by the Asian country’s foreign ministry shows that indeed Chinese lenders have suspended debt service payments worth $2.1 billion, the highest among the G20. The group has in total suspended $5.3 billion worth of loan repayments by 44 debtor countries. The next biggest contributor is France with $810 million.


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