Kenya-China relations date back 600 years, and Uhuru is eagerly awaited

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At the invitation of Mr Xi Jinping, the President of the People’s Republic of China, Mr Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya, will pay a state visit to China from August 18 to 23.

This visit, coming just at the 50th anniversaries of both the independence of Kenya and the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Kenya, will be a “journey of friendship and cooperation”.

The leaders will renew friendship, discuss cooperation and lay out the blueprints for the future development of our bilateral relations.

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The two sides will also sign a series of cooperative agreements, which will add more vitality to the mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields.

The Chinese Government and people are eagerly expecting the arrival of President Kenyatta.

More than 600 years ago, Chinese navigator Zheng He, visited Kenya four times during his seven voyages to the western oceans, with many historical prints and beautiful legends passed down.

Fifty years ago, Kenya won its independence through arduous struggles. China had offered firm support to Kenya in this regard and became one of the first countries to establish diplomatic ties with Kenya.

The world has gone through constant changes in the last half century, but what has remained unchanged is the belief of both our countries to pursue independence, peace, development, and the determination of both sides to create a better future on an equal footing with mutual support.

China-Kenya friendship has become the treasure of both peoples. China-Kenya cooperation in various fields has gained fruitful achievements. China-Kenya relationship has become a role model of China’s friendly cooperation with other developing countries.

We enjoy profound political mutual trust with close friendly interactions at all levels. We keep close coordination in international and regional affairs and support each other on major issues.

China does its best to provide assistance for Kenya’s economic development. China has been offering grants and loans to Kenya to construct its projects such as road and power infrastructure, sports centres, hospitals, schools and so on. China also provided Kenya with timely food for drought relief.

China-Kenya economic cooperation and trade is on a strong momentum. By June this year, China’s cumulative direct investment in Kenya had reached US$474 million (Sh40 billion). The bilateral trade volume reached US$ 2.84 billion last year. China has become Kenya’s largest source of foreign direct investment and second largest trade partner.

Investment by the Chinese companies in Kenya covers several sectors such as vehicle and home appliance assembly, construction materials, etc.

They have established partnerships with local companies, transferred advanced and practical technology to Kenya, and created job opportunities for the local people. Some 80 to 90 per cent of those hired by the Chinese companies in Kenya are locals.

In addition, the Chinese companies are devoted to carrying out their social responsibilities and making contributions to the local communities. They make donations to schools, drill wells, repair roads, sponsor healthcare and sports sectors, and live in harmony with the Kenyan people.

Our cooperation in media, culture and education has been further boosted. Four major Chinese media houses have established their African headquarters in Nairobi, and three Confucius Institutes have settled in Kenya. China offers more than 200 government scholarships to Kenyan students annually.

The number of Chinese tourists to Kenya is on the rise, and soared to over 40,000 last year. This year, the figure has been increasing even faster.

Wildlife is Kenya’s natural resource and economic pillar. The Chinese people, together with the Kenyan people, regard wildlife as our shared friends and have a great abhorrence of poachers and smugglers.

The Chinese and Kenyan governments have reached broad consensus on strengthening wildlife conservation and fighting poachers and smugglers. China will provide grant in this area.

By Liu Guangyuan

Liu Guangyuan is the Chinese Ambassador to Kenya.

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