The Chinese In Kenya: Is it Prometheus Unbound or the Tyranny of Zeus?

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The Chinese In Kenya: Is it Prometheus Unbound or the Tyranny of Zeus?

World’s largest silk producer to set up base in Kenya

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China’s Belt and Road Initiative continues to recruit new participants. The BRI also known as One Belt One Road (OBOR) is a globe spanning infrastructure program that envisages building roads, pipelines, bridges, and railway lines along what is dubbed as the Silk Road.  Italy is the latest country to join this alluring concept and the first G7 country to participate. Sequent to the 2ndBelt and Road forum of 2019 in Beijing, Africans continue to be favorably expectant. They have seen the projects: Ethiopia’s 79 km Jimma-Agaro-Dedesa road project connecting the strategic towns in western Ethiopia, Kenya’s flagship SGR project from Mombasa to Naivasha, with its beautiful stations among many others. According to the Africans, Prometheus ,

(In GreekmythologyPrometheus (/prəˈmiːθiːəs/Greek: Προμηθεύς,[promɛːtʰeús][1]is a Titanculture hero, and trickster figure who is credited with the creation of man from clay, and who defies the gods by stealing fire and giving it to humanity, an act that enabled progress and civilisation. Prometheus is known for his intelligence and as a champion of mankind[2] and also seen as the author of the human arts and sciences generally)

the greek ‘god’ is bringing them fire. Condemned by Zeus, Prometheus is guilty of bringing fire to humans. America says the detractors are guilty of predatory lending with malign intention. Answering back perhaps China might say as Prometheus does against the accusations by Zeus: ‘commander of the fortunate tortures me, chains me up, yet still my day will come. He’ll need me, to tell Him how a new conspiracy (I see it even now) strips Him of His scepter and all His privileges.” According to President Xi, China is Prometheus, not Zeus; between Africa and China, the contribution to Africa’s development makes the relationship between the two regions a win-win relationship.

But questions remain. The Center for a New American Security raises pertinent question about the Belt and Road Initiative. According to its assessment written before the 2nd Belt and Road forum of 2019 there are some serious questions to be raised about the concept:

As Beijing prepared, “to host the second Belt and Road Forum in late April 2019, countries that once welcomed Chinese investment have become increasingly vocal about the downsides. This report is intended to serve as a resource for governments, corporations, journalists, and civil society groups now re-evaluating the costs and benefits of Belt and Road projects. Building on previous research by the Center for a New American Security and other institutions, this report provides a high-level overview of the primary challenges associated with China’s Belt and Road. It explores these challenges in the context of 10 cases that have received little high-profile attention and identifies future concerns generated by the Belt and Road’s growing digital focus. Lastly, the report puts forward a checklist for evaluating future infrastructure projects involving China.”

The common African is weary of the loan burden their governments are putting on their future. But in Africa, myth is culture. Therefore Prometheus and Zeus are heroes!

By Timothy Kamau

Kamau, Timothy N. Studies Law and National Security. He is a security consultant for Equitorial Multimedia Group (EMG

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