Gao Hucheng, Chinese Minister of Commerce, on economic and trade cooperation between China and Kenya

Gao Hucheng, Chinese Minister of Commerce

In the second decade of the 21st century, China and Kenya have seen high economic growth, with promising development prospects. China has adequate funds, well-developed technology and equipment, and the capacity to provide aid. Kenya has remarkable strengths, exuberant market demands and a determined resolution for development. Both countries face the task of adjusting their economic structure, transforming growth patterns, and have urgent demands in fields like power, railway, aviation and energy. The potential for cooperation is tremendous. Progress on the integration of the East African Community has also opened up new spaces for the two countries in terms of construction of cross-border infrastructure, operation of regional airlines and other things. In this context, the economic cooperation between China and Kenya is facing more and larger opportunities. China is willing to grasp these for the mutual benefit and win-win results.

Firstly, we are continuing to expand cooperative investment between China and Kenya. Chinese firms are being encouraged to further diversify their interests in Kenya and guide investment towards fields such as petroleum, geothermal energy, power and agriculture, among other things, in close combination with Kenya’s long-term Vision 2030 and second five-year plan. There must be a focus on the construction and development of economic zones, transfer of skills and comparative strengths between the two countries, and the creation of more employment opportunities in Kenya. We must give full play to the China-African Development Fund and special loans for the development of African small and medium-sized enterprises from the Chinese Development Bank to inject capital in local business and enhance their competitiveness.

Secondly, we must enrich cooperation on infrastructure. Chinese companies are being encouraged to continue participating in Kenyan infrastructure projects in order to promote more collaboration in this sector, ranging from simply construction to preliminary design and later operation and development. For example, taking the Mombasa-Nairobi railway as the main artery, we must expand work on the Mombasa Port, highways and electricity projects along the line to form links between developments. We will continue to provide financing support for infrastructure projects that are of long-term benefit, and use project revenues as the main source of repayment to reduce the Kenyan government’s debt burden and promote the country’s sustainable economic development.

Thirdly, we will promote the cooperation and development of regional aviation. Premier Li Keqiang announced the China-Africa Regional Aviation Cooperation Plan during his visit to the African Union in May 2014. Kenya, as an aviation hub in East Africa, boasts advantages in airline operation and special services. China will support professional enterprises and financial institutions in discussing and cooperating with Kenyan firms in areas such as establishing airways, operating branch airlines, constructing airports and relevant support facilities, and training human resources.

Fourthly, we will focus on cooperation in the fields of employment and environmental protection. China will, within its capacity, continue to provide development aid to Kenya, giving priority to fields on which people’s livelihoods depend such as agriculture, education, hygiene and potable water. We will also provide more support for human resources and vocational education to help Kenya retain practical technologies and improve its independent development capability.

There is a saying in Kenya, “Sticks fastened together are unbreakable”, which vividly describes the precious value of cooperation. Similar development tasks and complementary advantages have closely aligned China with Kenya. Deepening economic cooperation will help to meet our respective development requirements and is of long-term benefit to both sides. China will endeavour, in concert with Kenya, to write a new chapter in the cooperation between our two countries and to improve the well-being of both of our peoples.

Sourced from the Ministry of Commerce

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Gao Hucheng

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