Nairobi [Kenya], February 28: Kenya’s Trade, Investment and Industry Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria wants China Square to stop operations in the Kenyan market, Kenya-based People Daily reported.
The Kenyan Cabinet Secretary in a tweet said that he has put an offer to buy out the lease for the retailer currently trading at Unicity Mall along Thika Road and give it to local traders.
Moses Kuria noted that Chinese investors are welcome in Kenya as manufacturers but not traders. He tweeted, “I have today given an offer to Prof Wainaina the VC Kenyatta University to buy out the lease for China Square, Unicity Mall and hand it over to the Gikomba,Nyamakima, Muthurwa l& Eastleigh Traders Association.We welcome Chinese investors to Kenya but as manufacturers not traders.”
China Square, a one-stop mall, has recently opened in Kenya. It has been garnering major traction from various Kenyans from city dwellers and is currently among the most flooded retailer in Kenya, as per reports. Various shoppers have said that the new hub stocks a wide range of products and services including stationery, furniture, home decoration items, cleaning supplies, hardware store, electrical appliances, and party supplies.
Recently, a Hong Kong-based publication reported that Kenya’s dependence on China has proved to be a sour experience for the former. Kenya depends on China for its growth as the country sources heavily from Beijing to boost its infrastructure and public services. The reliance has, however, proved to be a sour experience, The Hong Kong Post reported.
Growth in Kenyan imports from China can be attributed to the expanding infrastructure in the country owing to its engagement with the Belt and Road Initiative, as per the news report. The trade balance, however, favours China as Kenya’s imports from China stand at 97 per cent, while its exports to the Asian nation are around 3 per cent only.
China has become a leading bilateral creditor to Kenya. In addition to imports, the involvement of several Chinese companies in infrastructure development projects in Kenya has played a major role in enhancing bilateral engagement. Among these, is a Chinese state-owned company named “M/s China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC)”.
The company is involved in various infrastructure projects in China. It is, however, facing backlash for its corrupt practices and discrimination against the locals, as per the news report. The company is constructing Western Ring Road Project in Kenya which is being criticized for its high cost and plans to charge exorbitant tolls from the Kenyans.
The CRBC is expected to earn dividends worth USD 977 million and other incomes from the mega road. According to The Hong Kong Post, the people of Kenya have been increasingly wary of the work ethics, morals and environmental practices of the Chinese companies working in the country.