U.S.-China & the World is an interview series investigating how the U.S.-China relationship impacts societies, economies, and policies around the globe. Through short interviews with local experts, this series takes a closer look at the countries and regions affected by and navigating through U.S.-China tensions—and ultimately, how the United States and China together can build a better future for the international community. 

In the time since Kenya and China normalized relations in 1963, China has become Kenya’s largest trading partner in addition to large economic involvement, such as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the establishment of Chinese businesses in Kenya. What does Kenya need to consider when navigating its separate relationships with the United States and China? Professor Elijah Munyi joined the National Committee on August 18, 2023 to help us understand Kenya’s diplomatic balance between China and the U.S. 


Elijah Munyi

Elijah N. Munyi received his PhD from Alborg University in Denmark, majoring in European and ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific) international Free Trade Agreements (Economic Partnerships Agreements).   Since 2015 he has been an Assistant Professor for Political Economy at USIU- Kenya. He has also held visiting fellowships with various universities including Science Po, Bordeaux France (2018); Johns Hopkins (USA) School of Advanced International Studies (2019) as recipient of the SAIS-CARI Fellowship (John Hopkins University, Washington, USA) as well as a visiting fellowship at the Centre for Global Health, Graduate Institute Geneva (IHEID) in 2022. As Research and Policy Intervention Manager for Commercial Forestry at Gatsby Africa (2021-2023 while on sabbatical) he led on the FCDO’s £2m 2 commercial forestry vision development for Kenya under UKPACT’s Nature Based Solutions project. He has published on Africa’s development cooperation, trade policy, industrialization. He is the editor (with David Mwambari and Aleksi Ylonen) of the book Beyond History: African Agency in Development, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution. London: Rowman and Littlefield International (2020). His main research focus now is on how African states foreign policy engages, informs and adapts to the Great Power Competition between the US and China and Russia.