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Trump official to visit Kenya with a plan to boost investment

Storyline:National News

The head of a US government agency that helps private companies do business in the developing world is due to arrive in Kenya on July 21 with a plan seeking to enable the US to better compete with China’s investments in Africa.

Ray Washburne, president of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (Opic), is expected to meet with Kenyan officials to outline his agency’s three-year, $1 billion “Connect Africa” initiative.

Opic is specifically seeking to support the 470-kilometre, $3 billion Nairobi-Mombasa expressway whose building is scheduled to begin this month under contract with the US-based engineering company Bechtel.

In addition to Connect Africa’s backing for transportation and communications projects on the continent, Mr Washburne will likely tout a proposal moving through Congress to vastly expand Opic’s portfolio.

“The Chinese are in with ports and railroads and highways – things that we need to be in as a competitor,” Mr Washburne said last week during a stop in South Africa.

He also repeated the Trump administration’s warnings that China’s $126 billion “Belt and Road” investment initiative is saddling African countries with crushing debts.

The new legislation recently approved by the US House would double Opic’s access to US government credits to a total of $60 billion.