The President said as Kenya and China moved towards strengthened bilateral ties, it was up to business to grab the benefits, on the basis of respect and reciprocity. This would bridge the balance of trade currently heavily tilted in favour of China.
“This is the win-win dynamic that underpins our countries’ bilateral relations. It is the only way by which mutual interests are secured, and prosperity guaranteed,” President Kenyatta told an investment forum of Chinese and Kenyan businessmen in the Chinese capital Beijing on the third day of his state visit to the globe’s second largest economy.
More than 80 Kenyan companies and 50 Chinese companies were represented at the forum, arranged partly to match Kenyan and Chinese companies and also to showcase areas of investment in Kenya.
Several Governors, including Evans Kidero of Nairobi and Kenneth Lusaka Bungoma, also made presentations on investment opportunities in their counties.
President Kenyatta used the speech to underline the Jubilee Government’s “East” policy, saying Kenya was keen to do business within the context of the Indian Ocean Rim. This meant improving trade and business links with oil-rich Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan, drawing from the fertiliser industries in Belarus to improve agri-business, and tapping into manufacturing prowess of South Korea to grow Kenya’s jobs and raise prosperity.
A great believer in African integration, President Kenyatta detailed how Chinese businesses would tap into investment opportunities in the East African community, leveraging on the bargaining muscle of the BRICS community of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
“We are in a space in the history of our world where we offer opportunities for win-win interactions and accelerated development of our country,” said President Kenyatta, who, specifically referring to China, added: “My visit to China was about deepening bilateral relations and building robust business ties.”
“I have come to China so that we can candidly explore opportunities of mutual benefit so that our countries, governments, businesses and citizens can commence the work of sustaining and accelerating growth,” the President said.
President Kenyatta also invited Chinese investors to look at the raft of government-led projects on the table, such as the port, pipeline and road corridor linking Kenya, South Sudan and Ethiopia (LAPSSET), the Konza techno-city near Nairobi, energy and petroleum.
He welcomed the signing of $5 billion (Sh425 billion) in bilateral instruments to facilitate investments in various, large-scale infrastructure initiatives including energy generation and railway building.