Kenya to reap big from new Chinese programs
Kenya is among African countries set to benefit from nine major programs initiated by the Chinese government as part of its continuous efforts to strengthen its cooperation with the continent.
The Chinese government has unveiled a major package that would see it investing heavily in various sectors including health, green development, digital innovation, trade, and industrialization among others.
The resolve was made at a culmination of the Eighth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China–Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) held in Dakar, Senegal between November 29 and 30.
Chinese ambassador to Kenya Dr. Zhou Pingjian made the announcement at the weekend during a FOCAC press briefing that also included a guided tour of the Global Trade Centre (GTC) towers, a flagship project of FOCAC in Kenya's capital with a mixed-use development.
It consists of a cluster of six towers overlooking the Westlands-JKIA Express Way.
“The meeting demonstrated the high level of China Africa cooperation and the determination to seek common developments, as well as meet challenges together and share opportunities,” Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Dr. Zhou Pingjian said.
China is Africa’s largest trading partner and it has pledged to provide 10 billion US dollars of trade finance to support African export.
According to Pingjian, this would help finance green lines targeting African agricultural exports and hasten inspection and quarantine procedures.
The Chinese government has also pledged to undertake 10 green development, environmental protection, and climate action in Africa and this would be done by building centres on low-carbon development and climate change adaptation.
China would further finance the development of a joint vaccine development plan as part of its mission to supply one billion doses of vaccines to 54 African countries.
Of the total, 600 million doses would be as donations and 400 million through joint production, a major milestone that will help resolve challenges African countries are facing since the pandemic struck the world.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director for Asia and Australia Directorate, Paul Ndung'u Kamweru, the Ministry of Health has embarked on working on a framework that will see Kenya allocated part of the production capacity.
“At this juncture, managing the COVID situation has been our biggest priority in this country. As we seek to rebuild our economy, the issue of making vaccines available in an equitable manner is necessary for global success. President Xi Jinping pledged in the next three years, 1 billion doses will be available in the continent, and as a country, we already have 2 million vaccines on the way from our friends,” he said.
Kenya has been the greatest beneficiary of investments from China, through projects such as the construction of the Mombasa–Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), the Global Trade Centre (GTC) which is the tallest office tower in East Africa), the Nairobi-JKIA Expressway among others that have revolutionized the city into modernity.
Under the FOCAC program, has also pledged to encourage Chinese businesses to invest no less than 10 billion US dollars in Africa in the next three years, and establish a platform for China-Africa private investment promotion.
It will also undertake 10 industrialisation and employment promotion projects for Africa as well as provide credit facilities of 10 billion US dollars to African financial institutions, supporting the development of African SMEs on a priority basis.
Other plans lined up include establishing a China-Africa cross-border RMB centre, exempting African LDCs from debt incurred in the form of interest-free Chinese government loans due by the end of 2021.
On peace and security, FOCAC will undertake 10 peace and security projects for Africa, continue to deliver military assistance to the African Union, to support African countries' efforts to independently maintain regional security and fight terrorism.
Joint exercises and on-site training between Chinese and African peacekeeping troops and cooperation on small and light weapons control.
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi last week said Eighth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) was a complete success,
"Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, China and Africa had overcome difficulties to hold the conference on schedule, carrying out pragmatic and efficient discussions on the theme of the conference and reaching broad consensus," Wang said.
The conference reviewed the achievements made in the development of China-Africa relations and China-Africa solidarity in fighting the pandemic since the Beijing Summit of FOCAC in 2018, deliberated the implementation of the "eight major initiatives" announced at the Beijing Summit, and approved an array of outcome documents, he said.
The conference was jointly presided over by Wang and Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao, and the host nation's Foreign Minister Aissata Tall Sall and its Minister of Economy, Planning and Cooperation Amadou Hott.
"The conference, with the number of outcome documents adopted surpassing all previous conferences, fully reflects the high quality and high level of China-Africa cooperation and demonstrates the two sides' firm determination to seek common development, meet challenges and share the opportunities jointly in a new era," Wang said.