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Kenya-China Cooperation: Speaker Highlights Productive Outcomes

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Kenya-China alumni mark 60 years of Sino-Kenya friendship
Kenya-China alumni mark 60 years of Sino-Kenya friendship

Cooperation between Kenya and China has grown significantly over the past six decades, yielding fruitful outcomes in various areas, Moses Masika Wetangula, speaker of Kenya’s National Assembly, has said.

Diplomatic relations between both countries have flourished, especially since the early 2000s when Kenya made deliberate efforts to strengthen ties with China, Wetangula told Xinhua in a recent interview.

This has resulted in frequent high-level visits, and enhanced commercial ties and cooperation in Kenya’s infrastructure development, greatly benefiting both peoples, he said. China is currently involved in almost every major infrastructure project in Kenya, he said. “The growth has been phenomenal and visible, and it has enhanced the relationship between Kenya and China,” Wetangula added.

He listed major cooperation projects such as the Moi International Sports Center, Kasarani, the Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway — the first railway in Kenya since its independence — the Nairobi Expressway and the Global Trade Center in Nairobi, among othersAccording to official statistics, Kenya has an estimated 18,000 megawatts of solar power potential, followed by geothermal and wind power at 10,000 and 4,600 megawatts, respectively.

With the 55 megawatt Garissa Solar Power Plant and the Menengai Geothermal Power Plant, both financed and constructed by Chinese firms, Kenya has moved closer to achieving its clean energy transition goals.

China’s support has been crucial to the success of Africa’s development, and Beijing has consistently aligned itself with the aspirations of developing countries, including Kenya, said Wetangula. China and Kenya celebrated the 60th anniversary of their diplomatic relations in December 2023. In October that year, Kenyan President William Ruto visited China to attend the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, during which the two countries agreed to expand cooperation to the areas of digital economy and green energy, Wetangula noted. Following in the footsteps of his predecessors, the Kenyan president prioritized a visit to China soon after taking office, reaffirming Nairobi’s high regard for Beijing, he said.

China has also been a dependable partner in helping Kenyans gain access to basic amenities such as clean drinking water, electricity and vocational training for its youth, the speaker said. Kenya is China’s largest trading partner in East Africa, while China is Kenya’s largest trading partner and the primary source of imports.

In 2023, their total trade volume reached 8.1 billion U.S. dollars. Wetangula said he supports China-led initiatives which are intended to reform and improve global governance to make it more inclusive and responsive to the needs of African countries. “I fully support the initiatives that China is undertaking in areas such as civilization, security, and the democratization of UN (United Nations) agencies and other multilateral organizations. This ensures that they are not used as instruments by powerful countries to suppress developing nations,” he said.

Looking ahead, Wetangula said Kenya aims to increase the export of value-added agricultural products to China, including tea, coffee, milk, flowers and fruits.

The country is also keen to develop its nascent mining sector and renewable energy sources in its quest to achieve net-zero goals through a partnership with China, and boost tourist arrivals from China, he said. Regarding the upcoming Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit to be held in Beijing this autumn, Wetangula said it is an opportunity to showcase the vitality of China-Africa cooperation, which will usher in a new era of bilateral trade and investment flows to Africa. “FOCAC is a very important forum between Africa and China.

It is an opportunity to showcase what we are achieving together and to benchmark which African countries are benefiting most from the relationship. It also allows Africa and China to demonstrate to the world that, despite everything, we stand together as one,” Wetangula said.

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