The China Africa Research Initiative data has released a list of the most indebted African countries to China in the period between 2000 to 2017.
Uganda’s largest trading partner in East Africa, Kenya rank third.
Though the borrowing decreased significantly in 2017 compared to the years 2014 to 2016, Kenya’s borrowing from China currently stood at UShs37 trillion as at the end of 2017.
Only Angola and Ethiopia, who owe China UShs162 trillion and UShs51.6 trillion in the period under the review, are ahead of Kenya.
Standard Gauge Railway and Road network expansion was the main use of the debt borrowed from China.
A huge chunk of Kenya’s loan was borrowed in 2014 at UShs13.9 trillion billion as Kenya began building the first Phase of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) line from Mombasa to Nairobi that cost UShs12.3 trillion.
The following year, the country borrowed another UShs9.7 trillion while in 2016 the country borrowed UShs4.1 trillion from China.
However, in 2017, the country borrowed about Shs2.4 trillion.
“Other top ten debtors of China from Africa include Republic of Congo (UShs28 trillion), Sudan (UShs24.5 trillion), Zambia (UShs24.1 trillion), Cameroon (UShs21 trillion), Nigeria (UShs18.2 trillion) Ghana (UShs13.1 trillion), and DRC (UShs12.9 trillion,” the report indicates.
In EAC, Uganda is second to Kenya as it owes China UShs11.2 trillion, while Tanzania owes UShs8.8 trillion.
According to the report, China’s debt to Africa is at UShs541.3 trillion with transport and power sectors absorbing the lion’s share of the loans at UShs14.4 trillion and UShs11.3 trillion respectively.
This is followed by mining at UShs7.2 trillion.
In 2018, Chinese financial pledges in support of FOCAC (Forum on China-Africa cooperation) hit UShs227 trillion with the Chinese state putting UShs189.1 trillion of its own money at stake, while encouraging Chinese companies to contribute the rest through their own investment projects.
“Chinese loan finance is varied. Some government loans qualify as “official development aid.” But other Chinese loans are export credits, suppliers’ credits, or commercial, not concessional in nature. China is not Africa’s largest “donor”. That honor still belongs to the United States,” the research states.
-Additional reporting by Kenya based Capital FM