BEIJING, China, May 29 – China has agreed to support Kenya’s proposal to upgrade the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) to the United Nations Environmental Office in Nairobi, which will be presented to the upcoming Rio +20 World Environmental Conference.
Chinese Vice President Jinping Xi made the declaration after receiving President Mwai Kibaki’s letter of request from Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, on behalf of Chinese leader Hu Jintao and also advised Kenya to lobby for consensus among key stakeholders.
“We understand and appreciate the importance that Kenya and the developing world attaches to the presence of UNEP in Nairobi and therefore we will stand with you and only hope that other stakeholders will take a similar position,” said the Chinese VP
The world conference on environment will take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, later in June.
During their meeting held at the Great Hall of the People, the two leaders discussed a wide range of issues ranging from the strengthening of the economic ties cultural and economic cooperation and support for Kenya to enhance her security in the face of constant terrorism threats.
Musyoka had earlier met with the Director of the Confucius Institute Headquarter HANBAN Ms Xu Lin College and secured the funding and authority to set up a third Confucius institute in Kenya to be established at Egerton University.
The institute will focus on training and transfer of skills in agricultural development. It will also help train Kenyans in Chinese language to provide support services to the tourism industry in face of an expected increase in Chinese tourism arrivals.
In their discussions the two vice presidents reviewed the level of implementation on ongoing projects in Kenya including roads, hospitals and energy projects.
Musyoka took time to impress on his Chinese counterpart on the need for support for Kenya’s ambitious LAPSET project under Vision 2030, which incorporates the construction of a brand new port in Lamu and linking up of Ethiopia and South Sudan by rail and road.
The Vice President also sought support for building capacity for Kenya’s police force to handle internal security threats through the setting up of an effective police communication and command centre.
Jinping said Kenya was a central pillar of China’s policy of political and economic cooperation on Africa and that his country was keen to deepen bilateral relationship between the two countries.
“We are happy with the economic, cultural and education ties existing between our two nations and we are keen to ensure that this goes stronger and stronger by the day,” said Jingpin.
He said the trade between Kenya and China has crossed 2.5 billion dollars and Chinese investment in Kenya stood at 250 million dollars.
Jinping said that 37,000 Chinese tourists visited Kenya last year and expressed confidence that the figure will rise tremendously in the coming years.
Announcing that he will visit Kenya soon, Jinping said China Southern Airline was set to fly into Nairobi which will present another opportunity for more Chinese to tour Kenya.
On regional and international cooperation, Jinping said China and Kenya usually share a common position.
“In the aftermath of the world economic crisis, developing countries find themselves confronting even more difficult economic circumstances. China and Kenya should play a more active role in encouraging trade and economic activities that will help- improve the lives of our people,’’ said the Chinese VP
He congratulated his Kenyan counterpart for the award to him by Nanjing University of Agriculture in China
“The award reflects the recognition by the Chinese people of your service to Kenyans and for fostering continued friendship between the people of Kenya and the people of China,” said Jinping.
Musyoka said Kenya wanted more Chinese investors in various sectors of the economy in order to spur growth and create jobs for millions of the country’s youth who enter the labour market every year.
The VP who is accompanied by MPs Yusuf Hassan (Kamukunji), Mohammed Sirat (Wajir South) and Charles Kilonzo (Yatta) as well as businessmen David Langat and Vibipul Shah, visited the headquarters of the China Export and Import bank (Exim) and held discussions with its Vice President Zhu Hongjie.
He was briefed that the bank was doing the final assessment before releasing funding for the Kibwezi-Kitui –Mwingi and Usueni road while the Bank was also considering proposals on several major projects in Kenya.
Musyoka heard that the Bank had approved funding for the second phase of Kenya’s fiber –optic project that will cost 72 million dollars, intended to increase connectivity to the counties.