Kenyan President William Ruto will be travelling to China later this month to seek a $1bn (£820m) loan to pay for stalled road projects, his deputy Rigathi Gachagua has said. Mr Gachagua told local-language Inooro FM radio that many contractors had abandoned projects around the country as they were not getting paid for their work.
He said while Kenya was already heavily in debt to China, the president would ask for an extra $1bn while seeking a longer repayment period for the money that is already owed.
He said the president would tell the Chinese that “we admit we owe you money, can we talk so that you add more time, we pay more slowly, and can you add some little more money to finish building our roads?”.
Kenya owes China more than $8bn from loans mostly contracted during the former government under President Uhuru Kenyatta for infrastructure projects. The deputy president addressed the issue of extravagance by government officials, saying it was the reason the president had ordered a curb on foreign trips.
Earlier this week, the presidency banned public officials from taking non-essential trips abroad to cut spending and has ordered all ministries to cut their budget for the next financial year by 10%. The government has been accused of unnecessary spending amid complaints by many Kenyans over the rising cost of living and tax hikes put in place by the government.