Video screenshot from CNN's interview with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta
At a time when some Western countries are busy hyping "Chinese debt trap" theory, the African countries that practically reap the benefits from win-win cooperation stand out to defend.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has spoken with CNN's Richard Quest last Friday and made vigorous remarks regarding some questions from Quest during the interview.
Kenyatta doubted as to why critics only put the focus of Kenya's debt owed to China while there are other states that have lent money to the country, telling CNN that Kenya has a "very healthy mix of debt from the multilateral lenders".
At the start of the interview, Kenyatta briefed the interviewer on the election he won last year and the main policies in his presidency, and noted that his priority was on improving Kenya's economy.
Responding to Quest's question on whether the president was concerned about the high ratio of debt largely from China, Kenyatta said there was no difference between China and other lenders in term of "debt".
"Why are we focusing ourselves only on one lender?" Kenyatta asked.
"As far as I am concerned, we have a very healthy mix of debt from the multilateral lenders – who are basically the World Bank and the African Development Bank – to bilateral lenders like Japan, China, France, all who are participating and working with us to help us achieve our objectives," he added.
Kenyatta noted that the debt is not utilized to pay recurrent expenditure such as salaries or electricity bills but to plug an infrastructural gap that in the long term will bring more job opportunities for Kenya's youth.
"The number of people we have moved as a country in 10 years, from 32 percent of our people connected to our electricity grid, we are now closing to 65 percent of our population," he said.
Quest still posed questions on the debt owed to China, claiming that the key issue was not the usage of borrowed money but who was the lender.
"We are borrowing from China. We have borrowed from the United States. We have borrowed, our healthcare system is money that we are working together with companies like General Electric who are the backbone of what we are doing in our health sector. When it comes to energy, we are working very closely with AFD, the World Bank and the African Development Bank," Kenyatta explained in response to tough questions.
Quest said some critics believed that China has "another agenda" and asked the president whether he was familiar with this.
Kenyatta pointed out that Kenya has its own goals and was willing to work together with global partners to achieve the socio-economic agenda, adding that Japan now is their biggest lender in the field of port developments.
"Today, Mombasa port wouldn't be without the support of Japan. When we talk about electricity and electricity generation, we wouldn't be where we are without the support of AFD of France. So, why are we focusing ourselves only on one lender?"
On question that China may use debt to influence African countries, Kenyatta responded: "Our Kenyan perspective is that we have a development agenda, we have a social agenda, we have an economic agenda, and we are willing to partner with all countries that help us achieve our objective."