China gives Kenya $7 million development grant

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NAIROBI, Jan 6 (Reuters) - China gave Kenya a 540 million shilling ($7.16 million) grant on Wednesday to support development projects in east Africa's biggest economy.

The agreement was unveiled during a visit to the Kenyan capital Nairobi by Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, who is on a five-nation tour of the world's poorest continent.

"Kenya highly appreciates the development assistance extended by China," President Mwai Kibaki said in a statement. "The assistance has been substantial in financial terms and has a considerable impact on Kenya's socio-economic development."

In November, China's government said it would offer Africa $10 billion in concessional loans over the next three years as the country aims to boost a relationship which is economically booming, to the discomfort of some in the West. [ID:nL8244859] Beijing says it also plans to help Africa develop clean energy generation and cope with climate change, encourage Chinese financial institutions to lend to smaller African companies and expand market access for African products.

"Anything which will serve the interests of the Kenyan people is and will be China's top priority," Jiechi told reporters. His trip takes him to Nigeria on Thursday, then to Sierra Leone, Algeria and Morocco before ending in Saudi Arabia. ($1=75.45 Kenyan Shilling) (Reporting by George Obulutsa; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Ralph Boulton)

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