China sidestepped Kenya in a deal that has seen almost 50 countries join its new development bank. The Beijing-led investment bank is expected to challenge the World Bank’s dominance in funding government projects.
By last week’s Tuesday deadline to seek founding membership of the $50 billion institution, Kenya had not applied to be part of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich (above) said this was a result of China not extending an invitation.
“AIIB did not send us a letter stating the articles of agreement and inviting us to apply. Such letters of application are usually addressed to me or Foreign affairs; they formerly state what they have and ask if we have interest,” said Mr Rotich.
He said they were sent articles of association for membership in the case of IMF and World Bank, which are already dealing with Kenya.
The China-led Asian Bank, has an expected initial capital of over Sh4.6 trillion and focuses on funding infrastructure projects especially for founder members and is considered the next big thing after the World Bank and Asian Development Bank.
The bank’s signatories include countries closely allied to China such as Kazakhstan and Myanmar, but also some of Washington’s biggest friends — Germany, Britain, France, Italy and Australia.
China is one of Kenya’s most important international partners with connections as a diplomatic ally, donor and trade counterpart.
Kenya’s major infrastructure projects such as the standard gauge railway and Mombasa port expansion are financed by China and Japan respectively.