Kenya secures Sh67.5bn project financing from China

Uhuru China

President Uhuru Kenyatta addresses delegates during the Chinese-Kenya Business Forum at Crown Plaza Hotel in Beijing, China, on April 26, 2019. PHOTO | PSCU

Kenya and China on Friday signed project delivery agreements worth Sh67.5 billion for the Konza Data Centre and Smart Cities Project by telecommunications giant Huawei and the JKIA-James Gichuru expressway.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is in China for the second Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) forum, witnessed the signing of the deals that will be fulfilled through concessional financing and Public Private-Partnership (PPP).

The Konza project deal is worth Sh17.5 billion while the expressway project, by the China Road and Bridge Corporation, is worth Sh50 billion.

Also signed was the operation and maintenance service agreement for the Nairobi-Naivasha segment of the standard gauge railway (SGR).

Konza City

The Konza project, conceived in 2017 by the ICT ministry and Huawei, entails the development of core infrastructure including a National Cloud Data Centre, a Smart ICT Network, a Public Safe City and Smart Traffic Solution, and a Government Cloud and Enterprise Service.

It is part of the Konza Techno City, a Vision 2030 flagship project started in 2008 and aimed at developing technology-intensive and high-tech industries in ICT, biotechnology and e-commerce.

It is estimated that Phase I of the project is estimated will create over 17,000 jobs and contribute Sh90 billion to the Kenyan economy.

The construction of the expressway is expected to ease traffic flow on the busy Mombasa highway as part of government interventions to decongest key roads in Nairobi.

It will be the first of its kind in Africa, with features such as underpasses, overpasses, exits and the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) component covering the entire stretch.

High-level session

Earlier, President Kenyatta attended the opening ceremony of the BRI forum at the China National Convention Centre in central Beijing, where he addressed a high-level session attended by his host, President Xi Jinping.

He thanked China for projects which he said were expanding economic activities and unlocking the potential for prosperity in Kenya and other developing countries.

“Since inception, the Belt and Road Initiative has forged cooperation in the development of critical sectors including expansion of infrastructure, education and capacity building, trade facilitation and investment, agricultural modernisation, industrial promotion and energy connectivity," he said.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been updated to correct the total value of deals signed, from the Sh226 billion earlier reported by State House.