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International relations

Kenya's new highway signals shift in China's lending blitz in Africa

Instead of giving loan, Beijing-backed operator will collect tolls for 27 years

An expressway connecting central Nairobi to the capital's international airport was built under a public-private partnership that lets China collect tolls revenue for 27 years. (Photo by Takeshi Kumon)

CAIRO/BEIJING -- For many Nairobi denizens, a newly built 27-kilometer expressway connecting the Kenyan capital to its main airport has been a life changer.

"It took two hours to reach the airport in heavy traffic before the highway opened, but now it takes just 20 minutes," said a 52-year old taxi driver, adding that he makes more money now that he spends less time stuck in traffic.

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