China is Kenya’s largest creditor with 72% of total bilateral debt
Kenya’s total debt to China has grown 15 percentage points since 2016, increasing from 57% to 72% of its bilateral debt, an amount 8 times greater than the next biggest lending partner (France). In the past 5 years, debt levels to China have multiplied by a factor of 10. Critics of these increased debt levels have suggested that it will increase dependency and create a debt trap in the event of various possible economic downturns. Ratings agency Moody’s recently downgraded the country due to these increased debt levels while the IMF has ended Kenyan access to some credit lines. The situation in Kenya is mirrored in many other African countries with ongoing major investment projects with China, causing uncertainty for heightened interest for a wide range of geopolitical and economic actors around the world.