Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta announced a series of public-private infrastructure deals with France,
Key among the contracts between the Kenyan state and French companies will be the construction of a railway line from the traffic-congested capital Nairobi to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, a trip of about 20 km (12.4 miles) that can take up to two hours by car.
French President, Emmanuel Macron visited Kenya, after Djibouti and Ethiopia on his visit to East Africa. Macron offered “respectful” partnerships in the face of growing regional indebtedness to China – fast expanding its foothold in the continent.
He said France wants
The railway, Kenyatta said, “will help completely transform the lives of millions of urban workers”. It should be operational by 2021.
Kenya and France are also negotiating a contract for 1.6 billion euros to improve a highway from Nairobi northwest to Mau, a busy stretch of road for passengers and freight that is among the country’s deadliest.
France seek ‘Respectful’ partnership
France is looking to strengthen economic, military, and cultural ties in East Africa. Macron on Tuesday offered “respectful partnership” to Djibouti, to reduce the debt burden to China for infrastructure project loans.
“I would not want international investments to weaken the sovereignty of our partners,” Macron told Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh.
In Ethiopia, he announced a defence agreement in which France will loan 85 million euros to Ethiopia to support the establishment of a navy for the landlocked country.
On Thursday, the French leader will attend the One Planet Summit in Nairobi on reversing climate change.
Rwanda invited Macron to attend the 25th anniversary of the country’s 1994 genocide that killed some 800,000 of its citizens.
Rwandan authorities have long accused France of complicity in the massacre. Macron has not indicated whether he will attend the event on April 7 in the capital.
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