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Kenya to prioritise second port

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 6 – President Mwai Kibaki has welcomed the commitment that the Government of the People’s Republic of China has shown in the development of a second port at Lamu.

At a meeting with visiting Chinese Foreign Affairs Minister Yang Jiechi who paid him a courtesy call at his Harambee House office, President Kibaki described China as ‘a true friend of Kenya’, pointing out to the many infrastructure projects funded by China.

During his New Year message to the nation, President Kibaki said he was confident that construction of Lamu Port would begin this year. The President also thanked the Government of China for its commitment to funding parts of the Northern Corridor and their interest in a new Mombasa-Kampala standard gauge railway line.

“Kenya highly appreciates the development assistance extended by China. The assistance has been substantial in financial terms and has a considerable impact on Kenya’s socio-economic development,” President Kibaki said.

The Head of State outlined the importance of Lamu Port and the second transport corridor that will link Kenya to Ethiopia and Southern Sudan via Garissa and Isiolo.

The President has been at the forefront in promoting projects that are key to opening up vast parts of the country.

During Wednesday’s meeting, the Government of China extended a Sh540 million grant to support various projects in the country.

President Kibaki and Mr Jiechi also discussed issues centred on further enhancing the existing Kenya-China cooperation raised during the 4th Forum for China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Ministerial conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt in November last year.

The 4th FOCAC ministerial meeting adopted an action plan which lays out strategies for China-Africa cooperation over the next three years in which China seeks to build a new type of China-Africa Strategic Partnership covering several sectors of socio-economic development.

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China and Kenya have in the past signed agreements and MOUs in various fields including technical and cultural cooperation, trade, education, health, energy, agriculture and cooperative development.

Present during the meeting were Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Uhuru Kenyatta, Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula, Transport Minister Chirau Ali Mwakwere and the Head of Public Service and Secretary to the Cabinet Amb Francis Muthaura.

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