Initiating ‘a golden era’ for China-Kenya cooperation

Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) and Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta inspect Chinese guard of honour during a welcoming ceremony outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on August 19, 2013. PHOTO | WANG ZHAO | AFP

What you need to know:

  • China is willing to make joint efforts with Kenya to strengthen the strategic connection of “Belt and Road Initiative” with Kenya’s Vision 2030.
  • China has helped Kenya promote industrialisation by technology transfer and human resources development.

In today’s world, it has become universally acknowledged that development is the first priority.

But how do we promote and realise development? Chinese President Xi Jinping has long underscored solid work for development, as showcased by his remarks that “making empty talk is harmful to the nation, while doing practical work can help it thrive”.

Since the establishment of diplomatic relations 55 years ago, China and Kenya have co-operated to complete more than 100 major projects including the standard gauge railway (SGR) and the Moi International Sports Centre.

Currently, China has become Kenya’s largest trading partner, investor and contractor.


The China-Kenya cooperation brings along tangible benefits to the people of both countries, and promotes the economic and social development of Kenya.

This is as a result of the solid work we have accomplished hand in hand.

The Mombasa-Nairobi SGR is the best-known among the projects between our two countries.

Financed and constructed by a Chinese company, the SGR project has created 46,000 local jobs, cut the transportation cost between Mombasa and Nairobi by 40 per cent, and increased Kenya’s GDP by 1.5 per cent.

Through the sacrifices and joint efforts of workers from both sides, the SGR was completed in a record two and half years, taking half as long as expected and officially launched on Madaraka Day, last year.

The development of the railway goes hand in hand with growth of industrial parks and special economic zones.

Vocational education training projects are also most conducive for youth entrepreneurship.

China provides funding, equipment and teachers, and cooperates with 134 institutions and universities, such as the Kenya University of Science and Technology, to train nearly 30,000 mechanical engineers, electricians and automation professionals each year.

Besides, China strongly supports the Kenya National Youth Service, which has helped thousands of young people master engineering skills and gain employment.

China has helped Kenya promote industrialisation by technology transfer and human resources development, thus enhancing its capability to achieve self-driven and independent development.

The investment projects made by Chinese enterprises enjoy the brightest future.

As China has listed Kenya as a pilot and demonstration country of China-Africa industrial capacity co-operation, China enterprises have been actively responsive to President Uhuru Kenyatta’s “Big Four”.

We invested $100 million to establish the Industrialisation Research, Development and Production Base, $70 million to construct Twyford – the biggest Ceramics Company in East Africa, and $480 million to build the Global Trade Centre.

Moreover, we made billions worth investments in the building of industrial parks in Eldoret and Mombasa.

These efforts will greatly enhance Kenya’s capacity for self-sustainable development, speed up Kenya’s industrialisation process and create jobs.

In this process, China and Kenya have been exploring new patterns of investment cooperation — Public Private Partnership, for instance, which have effectively addressed the financial shortage without increasing Kenya’s debt burden.

However, China has always committed to not interfering in Kenya’s internal affairs, attaching no political strings to its assistance, not forcing Kenyans to do what they are unwilling to do and not making empty promises.

Kenya needs no foreign intervention or preaching. President Jinping often said, “You cannot know whether the shoes fit or not until you wear them”.

It is Kenya and the people of Kenya who know the best cooperation with China has contributed to the development and well-being of the nation.

China-Kenya co-operation is inclusive. We welcome the concerted efforts of the international community to promote development and revitalisation of Kenya.

At the same time, we hope relevant countries view China-Kenya and China-Africa cooperation in a fair and objective way, avoid empty talk and contribute more to development.

Now the China-Kenya relations are at a new historical starting point.

Socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era and President Uhuru Kenyatta sworn in for a new term in office.

We are willing to make joint efforts with Kenya to strengthen the strategic connection of “Belt and Road Initiative” with Kenya’s Vision 2030 and the Big Four Agenda.

We will roll up our sleeves to initiate “a golden era” for China-Kenya co-operation as well as create more benefits for our peoples.

Mr Liu Xianfa is the ambassador of the People’s Republic of China in the Republic of Kenya