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Kenya’s Delicate Balancing Act Between the U.S. and China

Kenya has done far better than many countries in fostering robust ties with both the United States and China, particularly in economic relations. Just last week, President Uhuru Kenyatta spoke by phone with his American counterpart Joe Biden and among the issues they discussed was the revival of talks to finalize a free trade agreement between the two countries.

On the Chinese side, the Kenyatta administration is negotiating with its creditors in Beijing to restructure billions of dollars of outstanding loans. Already, China’s policy banks have deferred just under a quarter-billion dollars of debt repayments and the two sides are now also working to handover key infrastructure projects like the Standard Gauge Railway to local control ahead of schedule as a way to reduce the loan repayment burden.

But none of this may be enough to avert severe economic distress, according to Elijah Munyi, an assistant professor at the United States International University-Africa in Nairobi. Professor Munyi, who’s an expert in Kenyan international relations, joins Eric to discuss why he sees a very difficult road ahead.

Show Notes:

About Elijah Munyi:

Elijah N. Munyi is currently an Assistant Professor in International Relations at the United States International University – Africa. His research interests are in African International Relations, particularly how African states international economic activity (arms sales, FDI, debt, and trade) influences shifts in foreign policy between African states and other actors such as China, the United States, the European Union, and other international actors. Elijah obtained a PhD in International Relations from Aalborg University in Denmark, and a Post-doctoral award at Science Po, Bordeaux in France. 

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