At the invitation of His Excellency Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China, His Excellency 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”.
During the visit, the leaders of China and Kenya will renew friendship, discuss cooperation and lay out the blueprints for the future development of our bilateral relations. 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.
Looking back to the history, we are so proud of the friendship and cooperation between China and Kenya and the two peoples. More than 600 years ago, the 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. Zheng He’s story is known to all both in China and Kenya. 50 years ago, Kenya won its independence through great efforts and 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 situation has gone through constant changes in the last half a century, but what has remained unchanged is the belief of both our countries to pursue independence, peace, development and win-win, the genuine friendship between our two peoples, and the determination of both sides to jointly 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 in various fields. We keep close coordination in international and regional affairs and support each other on major issues related to the other side’s core interests.
China does its best to provide assistance for Kenya’s economic development. China has been offering grants and loans to Kenya to construct its social development and livelihood projects such as road and power infrastructure, sports centers, hospitals, schools and so on. China also provided Kenya with timely food assistance 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. 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.
Eighty to 90 percent of the employers 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 the fields of 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 year by year, and reached 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 government and the Kenyan government have reached broad consensus on strengthening wildlife conservation and fighting poachers and smugglers from any country. China will provide Kenya with grant in this area.
Standing at a historical point of a new departure of China-Kenya relations and looking ahead into the future, we have every reason to firmly believe that tomorrow will be better and we long for it with eagerness and passion!
China is now actively carrying forward industrialization, informatization, urbanization and agricultural modernization, making every effort to fulfil the “Chinese Dream” of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. Under the leadership of President Kenyatta, the Kenyan government and people are striding forward towards Vision 2030, so as to achieve the “Kenyan Dream” of unity, self-reliance, development and prosperity.
We are a community of destiny with similar historical experiences and values. Our respective dreams are tightly linked with each other, which have served as an important opportunity for the development of our mutually beneficial cooperation. As long as we work hand in hand, China-Kenya friendship will become more magnificent than Mount Kenya, and the prospect of China-Kenya mutually beneficial cooperation will become broader than Maasai Mara.
Before President Kenyatta sets out for China, I wish him a completely successful visit. I believe that he will return home with the friendship of the Chinese people. China-Kenya friendly relations and cooperation will definitely make a new leap forward and reach a higher level.
(Liu is the Chinese Ambassador to Kenya)