, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 10 – Relations between Kenya and China went a notch higher on Saturday, after the signing of a record 17 new trade agreements, aimed at enhancing relations between Nairobi and Beijing.
The documents signed at a ceremony witnessed by President Uhuru Kenyatta and visiting Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at State House, Nairobi, included an exchange of notes on provision of materials for wild animals protection, a move that will enable China to contribute resources towards the protection of wildlife which is one of Kenya’s key source of foreign exchange.
“The Chinese government has already identified the protection of wildlife as one of the priority areas of assistance from China to African countries and in the next few years we will contribute $10 million for that purpose,” Li told journalists at a briefing held at State House, Nairobi where he was accorded a 21-gun salute as he concluded his tour of four African nations.
“In China we say you save the last for the best,” he joked during the briefing.
A concessional loan agreement on Nairobi’s 132 Kilovolt and 66 Kilovolt network upgrade reinforcement phase II project was also signed, to increase supply of electricity in the country.
Also inked is an agreement on the Economic and Technical Cooperation, which will see Kenya receive grants and free interest loans from China.
The two leaders also signed a framework agreement on the provision of a concessional loan by China for several other development projects in Kenya.
“My government is committed to making Kenya the manufacturing and technology hub of Africa,” President Kenyatta said, “ We will achieve this by putting in place appropriate investments, policies and reforms to enhance our business environment, and to make Kenya both the first choice of foreign investors, and the home of the most energetic local entrepreneurs.”
State House officials said a number of Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) were also signed between the two countries.
They include an MoU between Kenya’s Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure and the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China, on Aviation Cooperation, which provides for China’s support to Kenya’s aviation sector, including the construction and upgrading of airports.
On Agriculture, the two countries agreed to work together and help boost food security in Kenya.
China and Kenya have also agreed to cooperate in in achieving improving set targets of improving the health sector, by scaling up the fight against diseases—including malaria which was recently identified as a major killer disease.
Another key MoU signed between Kenya investment Authority and Investment Promotion Agency of the Ministry of Commerce of China will help the two countries improve their investments, for mutual benefits.
The two leaders said the agreement is geared at bridging the balance of trade which currently favours China, but will now give Kenya’s products access to the Chinese market among other things.
Other documents signed included an agreement on Tana and Athi River Development Authority (TARDA) and China State Construction Engineering Corporation Limited for the Grand Falls Multipurpose Dam Project.