, BEIJING, China, Aug 22 – China’s investment in Africa has helped accelerate regional integration in the continent by bridging the infrastructure gap, a Kenyan entrepreneur told Xinhua on Wednesday.
In an exclusive interview with the news agency, Chris Kirubi, a Kenyan industrialist said, “By investing to build ports, railway lines and roads, China is helping African countries open up to trade with each other.”
Kirubi who is in the business entourage of the visiting Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said, African countries must open up their markets to each other and become ‘one big country’ if they want to get out of poverty and to develop fast.
Kirubi said that although several African common markets have taken shape, cross-border trade is still a major challenge for the continent partly due to infrastructure deficiencies.
The tycoon’s comments came as latest official statistics showed that the world’s second largest economy’s foreign direct investment in Africa stood at around $20 billion by the end of 2012.
Figures also showed that China is Kenya’s biggest source of foreign direct investment and its second largest trade partner with bilateral business rising to $2.84 billion in 2012. Kirubi said China, which he believes is Kenya’s true development partner, must keep an eye on the balance of trade between the two sides.
On Monday, Chinese President Xi Jinping, meeting with Kenyatta, vowed that his country will increase imports from Kenya to promote balanced growth of bilateral trade and foster cooperation in fields including infrastructure, renewable energy, agriculture, environment and wild animal protection.
The two countries announced to establish a comprehensive and cooperative partnership featuring equality, mutual trust and mutual benefit following the meeting.