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Kenya’s Delicate Balancing Act Between the U.S. and China

Kenya has done far better than many countries in fostering robust ties with both the United States and China, particularly in economic relations. Just last week, President Uhuru Kenyatta spoke by phone with his American counterpart Joe Biden and among the issues they discussed was the revival of talks to finalize a free trade agreement between the two countries.

On the Chinese side, the Kenyatta administration is negotiating with its creditors in Beijing to restructure billions of dollars of outstanding loans. Already, China’s policy banks have deferred just under a quarter-billion dollars of debt repayments and the two sides are now also working to handover key infrastructure projects like the Standard Gauge Railway to local control ahead of schedule as a way to reduce the loan repayment burden.

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