Follow CGSP on Social Media

Listen to the CGSP Podcast

China’s Ambassador to Kenya Pushes Back Against Debt Fears in Rare Interview

Chinese ambassador to Kenya, Zhou Pingjian, during an interview with the Kenyan newspaper The Star at the Chinese embassy in Nairobi. Image via The Star.

China’s ambassador to Kenya, Zhou Pingjian, sidestepped the controversy about Chinese lending in a rare one-on-one interview with The Star’s Eliud Kibii. Their conversation covered a broad range of topics, including debt, trade, and COVID-19. While he avoided many specifics, the interview gives an all-too-rare glimpse into the thinking of one of China’s most senior diplomats on the continent. Before becoming ambassador to Kenya, Zhou was posted to Nigeria.

Kenya’s debt to China will be a key issue in the upcoming election. Zhou pushed back against allegations that China is a predatory lender. Instead, he emphasized the growth potential and rapid development of Chinese-funded projects in the country, and how they dovetail with Kenyan development goals. He also dismissed concerns about the opacity of Chinese loan contracts, blaming both controversies on outside misinformation.

Lead the Conversation on China

Subscribe Today to Get Full Access to The China-Global South Project

Check Out Everything You'll Get With Your Subscription

The China-Global South Daily Brief delivered to your inbox at 6AM Washington time

Full access to exclusive news and analysis from editors based in the Global South

Transcripts of CGSP’s twice-weekly podcasts

Students and teachers with a valid .edu email address are eligible for a 50% discount off monthly or yearly subscriptions. Email us to receive a discount code.

What is The China-Global South Project?


The China-Global South Project is passionately independent, non-partisan and does not advocate for any country, company or culture.


A carefully curated selection of the day’s most important China-Global South stories. Updated 24 hours a day by human editors. No bots, no algorithms.


Diverse, often unconventional insights from scholars, analysts, journalists and a variety of stakeholders in the China-Global South discourse.


A unique professional network of China-Africa scholars, analysts, journalists and other practioners from around the world.