Kenya Is Building East Africa’s First Coal-fired Power Plant. China Is Involved.

Kenya is building East Africa’s first coal-fired power plant, a move that’s been criticized as backwards, unnecessary, and harmful to the health of the country’s people and environment. Now, the $2 billion project run by Amu Power is also being accused of taking jobs away from local Kenyans.

Forty percent of about 3,500 workers needed for construction will be foreign, mostly Chinese, according to a filing with the National Environment Management Authority, reported in local media this week. The rest of the jobs will go to locals. The Chinese in Kenya have been accused of stealing local jobs from street side hawkers to tour guides as well as on infrastructure projects like this one.

But the number of Chinese workers in Kenya—temporary workers hired for projects by Chinese companies—has actually fallen to almost 4,000 at of the end of 2014, from 6,500 in 2011, according to data compiled by the China Africa Research Initiative at Johns Hopkins University. That Chinese companies import labor from China rather than hire locally is a criticism echoed across Africa, but particularly strong in Kenya where youth unemployment is the highest in the region. Read the full story here.