China Mulls Debt Reliefs for Kenya

(Reuters) – China stands ready to help Kenya deal with its debt challenges and both sides are holding “smooth” talks over the issues, the Chinese embassy in Nairobi said on Monday.

“China attaches great importance to debt suspension and alleviation in African countries including Kenya,” the embassy said in a statement.

The East African nation’s revenues have been pummelled by the coronavirus crisis, at a time when more of its debts are falling due and as it is still grappling with gaping fiscal deficits.

China is one of its biggest external creditors, having lent it billions of dollars for the construction of rail lines and other infrastructure projects in the past decade.

China has signed debt service suspension agreements with 12 African countries and provided waivers of matured interest-free loan for 15 African countries under the G-20 debt service suspension initiative, the embassy in Nairobi said.

It did not say whether Kenya will get relief through the same initiative or if a separate deal will be struck.

Kenya secured a debt repayments relief deal with the Paris Club of international lenders last week and it is seeking further relief from non-Paris Club bilateral creditors.

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