Follow CGSP on Social Media

Listen to the CGSP Podcast

New Report Kills off the Mombasa Port Seizure Conspiracy Theory

File image of a cargo vessel offloading at the Port of Mombasa in Kenya. AFP.

Kenya’s Standard Gauge Railway is now arguably the most controversial Chinese project in Africa, due to runaway rumors that debt from the notoriously opaque agreement will lead to the seizure of the port of Mombasa by Chinese banks.

This controversy prompted Professor Deborah Brautigam’s team at Johns Hopkins University’s China Africa Research Initiative to launch a deep investigation into the deal. Their report, “How Africa Borrows from China: And Why Mombasa Port is Not Collateral for Kenya’s Standard Gauge Railway” has now been launched. It provides the most complete glimpse up to date of the deal’s terms and debunks many conspiracy theories.

  • Get a daily email packed with the latest China-Africa news and analysis.
  • Read exclusive insights on the key trends shaping China-Africa relations.
  • Full access to the News Feed that provides daily updates on Chinese engagement in Africa and throughout the Global South.

China, Africa and the Global South... find out what’s happening.

Subscribe today for unlimited access.

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.