, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 4 – President Mwai Kibaki jetted back into the country on Tuesday from Shanghai, China after a five-day state visit to the East Asian country.
The plane carrying President Kibaki and his entourage touched down at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport shortly before 6.00 am.
President Kibaki’s visit climaxed with the holding of fruitful bilateral talks with his host President Hu Jintao. The President attended the grand opening of the Shanghai World Expo. Over 192 countries participated in the expo which accorded Kenyans an opportunity to display and promote their products and services in the vast Chinese and Asian markets.
At the bilateral talks President Hu Jintao announced the extension of a Sh1.2 billion grant towards Kenya’s development projects.
President Kibaki and the Chinese President discussed the construction of Lamu port where the two leaders agreed that the port had the potential to open up vast parts of Northern Kenya and benefit regional economies of Southern Sudan and Ethiopia.
The two nations agreed to prioritise the construction of the Lamu Port as a key pillar project towards the attainment of Kenya’s development blue print, the Vision 2030.
In this regard, it was agreed that appropriate modalities on financing arrangements be made to avoid any financial gaps due to the huge financial resources that will be required.
The deliberations attest to the fact that Kenya has edged closer to the development of the second port at Lamu.
The Kenya government has already commissioned feasibility studies on the port and accompanying infrastructure which include a railway line from Lamu.
The Chinese President termed President Kibaki a true and old friend of China and had redefined relations between the two countries, giving impetus to overall China Africa relations.
President Hu said President Kibaki’s leadership had set Kenya on the growth path to drive the economies of countries in the East and Central Africa region.
President Kibaki said China had proved to be a genuine development partner and critical ally in Kenya’s economic revival that has led to major infrastructural development in the country.
The Head of State noted with appreciation that China remained one of the leading bilateral donors to Kenya with an accumulative official development assistance totaling Sh42 billion.
The President assured China of the government’s determination and commitment to boost the existing cordial relations through exchange visits at all levels for the benefit of the peoples of the two countries.
With regard to implementation of Vision 2030 the President affirmed the government has adopted a pragmatic approach that would transform the country into a middle income economy.
On stability in the horn of Africa, the Head of State expressed the government’s full support for the peace processes in both Sudan and Somalia.
President Hu Jintao thanked the government and people of Kenya for being at the forefront in peace initiatives in both Sudan and Somalia.
The Chinese leader committed to encouraging investors to open up businesses in Kenya. He will also encourage more tourists to visit the Kenya’s world renowned and preferred destinations.
President Hu Jintao at the same time announced new areas of development cooperation with Kenya including health and education where more scholarships will be given for Kenyans to study in China.
During the visit President Kibaki also met and held discussions with officials from various Chinese companies and businesses interested in investing in Kenya.
The President assured potential investors that the government had created an enabling environment to do business in the country.
The Head of State held talks with officials of China-Africa Development (CAD) Fund led by the Chief Executive Officer Chi Jian Xin.
Mr Chi Jian Xin briefed the President on the company’s willingness to partner with private/public companies in supporting projects that can be funded through the official bilateral framework between Kenya and China.
The Head of State also met with the Head of Hydro-China Guiyang Corporation Pan Jilu. The company, a hydropower and wind power generation, transmission and distribution Company, has been involved in various hydro and wind power generation projects.
The Head of State directed the ministries of Energy, Finance and Regional Authorities to organise consultative meetings with companies interested in Kenya’s development needs and work out modalities of implementing identified projects without delay.
During the visit President Kibaki was accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, cabinet Ministers Moses Wetangula, Amos Kimunya, Fred Gumo, John Munyes, Assistant Ministers Nderitu Muriithi, Mohammed Abu Chiaba, Joseph Nkaissery and the MP for Kisauni Hassan Joho among other senior government officials.