Why are African Countries interested in Chinese Development Finance? Evidence from contemporary Kenya

Oscar M. Otele, Oita Etyang

Abstract


In response to China’s renewed engagement in Africa, the existing literature on “China-Africa relations” conflates African interests in Chinese development finance with other drivers of engagement like trade and investments. As such the literature points out solidarity; diversification of economic partners, regime stability, strategic partnership and exemplar for development experience as some of the motivations behind African interests in Chinese development finance. However, these themes tend to generalize all African states as a monolithic entity despite the diversity on the continent reflected in the geo-politics of individual states, thus obfuscating specific reasons some countries are interested in Chinese development finance. To ameliorate this deficit in the literature, this article seeks to understand why successive governments in Kenya since 2003 preferred Chinese development finance. It was established that “noninterference”, “no-strings attached’’, Kenya’s quest to diversify her external sources of foreign aid, the mutual conception of developmental aspiration and “few” bureaucratic procedures are some of the reasons why Kenya is interested in Chinese development finance.

Keywords: Africa, China, Kenya, development, finance

 

Oscar M. Otele, Lecturer, University of Nairobi; Email: otele@uonbi.ac.ke
Oita Etyang, PhD candidate, University of Johannesburg; Email: reinnyetyang@gmail.com


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