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The Future of Chinese-Financed Infrastructure in Kenya

The China Road and Bridge Corporation is building a massive new half-a-billion dollar expressway right through the Kenyan capital of Nairobi. But this project is very different than previous Chinese-financed infrastructure initiatives in Kenya, like the ailing Standard Gauge Railway for example, where the government borrowed billions from the China Exim Bank.

Instead, the new Nairobi Expressway is a public-private-partnership (PPP) where CRBC is putting up the money and in turn, will receive a long-term concession to recoup its investment before handing the road back to the Kenyan government. It’s easy to see why a lot of people like this model given that the host country doesn’t incur any debt and the contractor has a chance to earn a sizable return on its investment. But in Kenya, as in many countries, PPPs are complicated and very risky.

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