BALLOONING DEBT

Raila warns against appetite for foreign loans

Urges African nations to prioritise infrastructure development

In Summary

• Says African nations including Kenya should think first what they can do with their own resources

• Intra-African trade will only succeed when proper infrastructure is in place

AU envoy Raila Odinga speaking on Tuesday./COURTESY
AU envoy Raila Odinga speaking on Tuesday./COURTESY

AU envoy Raila Odinga has asked African governments to be cautious about borrowing from abroad.

Raila said African nations including Kenya should think first what they can do with their own resources before turning to international donors.

“We are here to think about what we can do for ourselves as Africans before we go to the World Bank, EU or to the Chinese,” Raila said.

He was speaking in Nairobi during a summit on infrastructure financing in Africa on Tuesday.

Raila said Africa needs to come up with a new transcontinental corridor to connect the eastern, western and central countries to the deep sea ports of Lamu in Kenya and Duala in Cameroon.

"The continent needs a high speed freight railway, which would have a tremendous impact to the economy," he said.

Raila said trade within Africa will only be successful if proper infrastructure is put in place.

Asian and European countries are streaming into Africa to invest in various sectors including improvement of infrastructure.

Last month, French President Emmanuel Macron promised to support President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four Agenda. He will also help in the construction of a commuter rail service from JKIA to the city centre.

Last year, China hosted heads of African countries to strengthen economic cooperation. Each country went home with a basketful of goodies and huge promises of future development.