Chinese gives Kenya $1.4bn aid in decade

Wednesday May 1 2013

PHOTO | PHOEBE OKALL | FILE A plaque commemorating the opening of the Thika superhighway. The project was undertaken with assistance from China.

PHOTO | PHOEBE OKALL | FILE A plaque commemorating the opening of the Thika superhighway. The project was undertaken with assistance from China. NATION MEDIA GROUP

By KEVIN J KELLEY [email protected]

NEW YORK

China provided Kenya with $1.4 billion aid in the 2001-2011 period, says a new report by US researchers.

Road building and other transport projects accounted for nearly half of China’s assistance, according to the study compiled by AidData, a research partnership involving two US universities and a non-governmental organisation.

Energy generation and supply is identified as the second largest China-Kenya aid category, amounting to $286 million. The largest single project in that category was for updating Kenya’s urban power grid, which totalled $138 million, the report says.

China also supplied Kenya with $103 million in aid for health projects during the same period. Most of the money, $92 million, was spent on building the Kenyatta University Teaching, Research and Referral Hospital in Nairobi. China also paid $7 million to build the Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital in Embakasi.

Chinese aid in Kenya amounted to less than two per cent of the $75 billion it gave to Africa during the decade ending in 2011.

Ghana, which was given $11.4 billion, was the largest recipient followed by Nigeria, Sudan and Ethiopia.

AidData says China’s total aid to Africa from 2001 to 2011 almost equalled that given by the US in the same period.

But in the case of Kenya, US aid far surpassed that from China at $5.5 billion — about four times greater than China’s — while other countries provided $14.6 billion in the years covered by AidData’s study.

The findings represent an attempt to penetrate China’s generally secretive aid programmes.

“Beijing discloses very little information about its development finance activities,” the researchers said in a paper published on Monday.