2019 outlook: China debt repayment triples from July

Wednesday January 2 2019

Kenya standard gauge railway

The Mombasa-Nairobi standard gauge railway. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

NATION REPORTER
By NATION REPORTER
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Loan repayments to China will nearly triple from July as the five-year grace period that Beijing extended to Kenya in May 2014 for the standard gauge railway (SGR) funds comes to an end.

Nairobi will pay Chinese State-owned lenders nearly Sh82.85 billion in the year starting July from Sh36.24 billion in the current year ending June.

Kenya in May 2014 entered into a deal to borrow $3.233 billion loan (Sh324.01 billion) from China’s Exim Bank, comprised of $1.633 billion commercial loan and $1.6 billion concessional to build the 385km Mombasa and Nairobi SGR line.

The loan is to be repaid in 15 years .

The deal to fund the first phase of the SGR, Kenya’s single largest infrastructure project by cost since independence, saw Beijing overtake Tokyo as Kenya’s largest bilateral lender.

Debt repayments to Beijing will account for a third of the Sh274.24 billion debt that Kenyan projects will be due to foreign lenders in 2019-20.