China, Kenya cooperation win-win for development
I was kind of disappointed somehow, frankly, upon my first-ever arrival at JKIA on August 29, 2008.
A very friendly and hospitable airport; but, wasn’t its size too modest for a regional hub, a favourite destination for tourists worldwide?
At first glance, I wondered. My disappointment was short-lived. In the following three years, I enjoyed my frequent visits to JKIA as Deputy Chief of Mission, meeting and seeing off delegations. I left from the familiar JKIA in late July of 2011.
On August 31, 2020, I arrived at JKIA once more, flying Kenya Airways from Guangzhou.
Imagine my excitement to serve my country for a second time in a great nation, which I always proudly refer to as my second home!
While sharing my excitement with Ambassador Samuel M Gitonga who was there to meet me all the way to the lounge, I was impressed by the change.
Development holds the key to a better life for people. All countries are entitled to development and progress, a right both the Chinese and Kenyans are exercising in pursuit of Chinese Dream and Kenyan aspirations with our own efforts and through international cooperation.
Can any country achieve desired development without requisite infrastructure? Not China, I know. In China, we often say, “To build fortune, roads should be built first.”
One brochure in my office, Kenya’s Industrial Transformation Programme, published in July 2015, is fresh to me.
“The key to sustainable industrial growth and job creation lies in the growth of domestic companies and the attraction of local and foreign investors to invest capital and expertise into the economy,” writes President Uhuru Kenyatta in his message.
“We recognise the role the government will need to play in creating the infrastructure backbone to advance our economy.”
As an old friend of Kenya, I am happy to learn the country has been making steady and significant progress in every undertaking for national development.
I am glad to learn that not a negligible number of development projects in Kenya are in one way or another in partnership with China.
I am proud that China proves to be a most reliable partner of Kenya in all these development endeavours.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the founding of Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).
On 12 October, President Xi Jinping and President Macky Sall of Senegal, the current African Co-Chair of FOCAC, issued a joint congratulatory message for this important occasion.
They both said, FOCAC has grown into an important and dynamic platform for China and Africa to carry out collective dialogues and an effective mechanism for practical cooperation, and represents an important flag for South-South cooperation.
In 2019, direct Chinese investment stock in Africa topped US$49.1 billion, up by nearly 100 times from the year 2000; China-Africa trade reached US$208.7 billion, 20 times the size of 2000.
China has been Africa’s largest trading partner for 11 years in a row, and has contributed more than 20% to Africa’s growth for a number of years.
We have always pursued solidarity, consultation and cooperation as equals.
China never interferes in African countries’ pursuit of development paths that suit their own national conditions, never imposes its will upon others, never attaches any political strings to its assistance, and never seeks selfish political gains in investment and financing cooperation.
We have always advanced win-win cooperation for development. Our cooperation is about action and results.
We have always supported each other in trying times. China-Africa friendship was born in formidable years of national liberation and is deeply rooted in our peoples’ heart.
Our cooperation and mutual assistance in fight against Covid-19 represents a prime example of solidarity in the face of a disease.
What we have gone through together shows China and Africa are more than partners. We are comrades-in-arms.
We have always embraced openness and inclusiveness. China welcomes concerted efforts made by the international community to support Africa in achieving peace, stability and development.
Colonial plunder and the Cold-War rivalry brought excruciating sufferings to the African people. That part of history must not be repeated.
China has always viewed and developed its ties with Kenya from a strategic and long-term perspective.
China will work with Kenya to take forward Belt and Road cooperation and implementation of outcomes of the FOCAC Beijing Summit and the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity against Covid-19, and in that context, strive for new progress in the China-Kenya comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership and deliver greater benefits to the people of both countries. — The author is the Ambassador of China to Kenya