China’s investment key to regional integration: Kirubi

Kirubi in a meeting with Chinese businessmen in Beijing, China/XINHUA[/caption]
Kirubi in a meeting with Chinese businessmen in Beijing, China/XINHUA

, 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.

XINHUA :Xinhua News Agency, founded on November 7, 1931, is China’s national news agency as well as a global news and information network. Xinhua has set up a global news and information gathering network, with headquarters in Beijing, 33 domestic bureaus in provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities plus the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macao, as well as 140 bureaus in the rest of the world. Xinhua is yet to set up a bureau in Taiwan, where it has posted resident correspondents. Xinhua provides its worldwide subscribers with news and financial information products in the forms of text, photo, graphics, audio, video, and mobile phone text messages 24 hours a day in eight languages: Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish, Arabic, Portuguese and Japanese.