Data from Treasury has illustrated the growing interest of Japan in Kenya with the loans taken from the East Asian country increasing by 162 percent over the course of last year.
According to the Treasury, bilateral loans from the Asian nation increased to Ksh. 136 billion (US$1.3 billion) as of June 2019 up from Ksh. 52.2 (US$503 million) billion registered in a similar period last year.
“It is a central consideration for Japan that a key for stability and prosperity of the international community is the dynamism that is created by combining ‘two continents’ Asia that is rapidly growing and Africa that possesses a huge potential for growth,” and ‘two oceans’ by which we mean free and open pacific and Indian Ocean,” Japan Ambassador to Kenya Ryoichi Horie said last week while signing a Ksh.82.7 billion loan for the construction of the Mombasa Gate Bridge over Kilindini harbor according to the Business Daily.
In the period under review, bilateral loans taken from Japan exceeded those taken from China which stood at Ksh. 665.5 billion (US$ 6.4 billion). A year earlier, loans taken from China stood at Ksh. 569.7 billion (US$5.5 billion). Though significant, the 16 percent jump in Chinese loans in the period is not as high as other years, signaling the Asian country’s decision to reduce lending to African states.
According to the Business Daily, Japan and China have had conflicts over the Indo-Pacific passage which identifies “Kenya as a frontal state facing the Indian Ocean” and a strategic country for the geopolitical competition. According to the Japan Ambassador to Kenya, the deal strengthened Japan’s policy towards China on the Indian Ocean.
Japan has underscored its interest in the country by taking up development projects such as expansion of Mwea Irrigation scheme, the expansion of Ngong road and the development of Mombasa Port phase II and III.