There is extensive international debate over the contribution of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to achieving the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The potential for the BRI to make a substantial contribution to realising the SDGs has been acknowledged by leading global, regional, and national representatives. The BRI as a developmental project with global reach is heavily backed financially by China, and reflects the need for stronger instruments to implement and deliver on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs. Yet, there are practical challenges in the BRI–SDG relationship set against an international debate centred on concerns, criticisms, and ‘pushback’. This article assesses this relationship and provides a comprehensive examination of China–Kenya cooperation under the BRI and its implications for Kenyan implementation of the SDGs. Its arguments are based on both official documents and data, and primary research. Its findings contribute to the discussion on the potential of the BRI for Africa’s sustainable development.
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