Join Hands to Create a Bright Future and Fulfill Common Development Dreams

--Remarks by H.E. Dr. Liu Xianfa, Chinese Ambassador to Kenya, at the Kenya Vision 2030 Delivery Board Meeting

(June 26th, 2015)

Respected Chairman Dr. James Mwangi,

Respected Secretary-General Mr. Wainaina Gituro,

Respected members and representatives of Kenya Vision 2030 Delivery Board,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Good morning! Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for the kind invitation. I am very delighted to exchange views with everyone at the Kenya Vision 2030 Delivery Board Meeting today. All members and representatives present here are elites from the Kenyan government and business community, who have been all along making significant contributions to Kenya’s economic and social development, especially the implementation of Vision 2030, and playing very important roles in promoting China-Kenya ties and cooperation in various fields. I really appreciate your efforts in this regard.

Kenya Vision 2030 is a grand long-term development blueprint aiming to transform Kenya into a newly industrialized, middle-income country, which demonstrates the Kenyan government’s strategic perspectives and pragmatic ways of planning, coordinating and implementing. The Vision initiative is anchored on three key areas which are political, economic and social. It goes along with the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and the Development Agenda beyond 2015, and meets the national circumstances of Kenya as well as the trends of global development. Vision 2030, with a series of targeted and concrete measures, focuses on economic growth, fair distribution of incomes, poverty reduction, infrastructure, employment opportunities, healthcare and gender equality, having brought Kenya hopes and paths towards a future with long-term stability and prosperity.

Ever since the launch of Vision 2030, especially the assumption of office by H.E. President Kenyatta, the Kenyan government and people have been working hard in a concerted effort to vigorously carry out the Vision, elevating Kenya’s economic and social development to a new level. In the year 2014, Kenya’s GDP grew by 5.3%, with its total GDP ranking among the top best of sub-Saharan African countries; attracted US$ 1.2 billion foreign investment, with an increase by over 50% compared to 2013, ranking 6th in Africa; newly created around 800,000 jobs, especially for the youth in agricultural and service sectors. Kenya has set up 52 export processing zones, including the one at Athi River, which has added new vitality to its economic development by opening up to the outside world. Guided by Vision 2030, the Kenyan people are making great strides along the path of unity, development and prosperity. Kenya’s achievements have been recognized by the international community.

As for development, China shares much with Kenya in concepts, goals and approaches. Just like the Kenya Vision 2030, the Chinese people also have the Chinese Dream, which, in essence, is about prosperity of the country, rejuvenation of the nation, and happiness of the people. The 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China made a clear interpretation of the goals of the Chinese Dream, that is, by 2020, the centenary of the CPC, China will double its 2010 GDP and per capita income for both urban and rural residents and complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects; and by 2049, the centenary of the New China, we will build a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious to realize the Chinese Dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. The Chinese Dream is a dream of peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefit, and is in consistence with the African people’s beautiful dreams, including Kenya “Vision 2030”.

China and Kenya are trustworthy friends and sincere partners. We share similar historic trajectories and both had been victimized by colonialism and western powers. We are faced with common development tasks. We are close at heart, and we share similar objectives. Kenya Vision 2030 and the Chinese Dream will bring both countries together to carry out common development, integrate our shared interests and combine the wishes and aspirations of both peoples. It is the shared tasks of both countries to create a bright future and fulfill common development dreams, hand in hand and shoulder by shoulder.

Ladies and gentlemen,

In recent years, China and Kenya have been keeping frequent high-level exchanges of visits with political mutual trust continuously deepening. In August 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Kenyatta jointly established China-Kenya comprehensive cooperative partnership based on equality, mutual trust, mutual benefit and win-win outcome, chartering the road map for the long-term development of our bilateral relations. In May 2014, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visited Kenya, robustly promoting our bilateral mutual trust and pragmatic cooperation. Bilateral cooperation between the two sides in the fields of economy and trade, culture, education, tourism, media etc has seen active and significant and vigorous progress, and tremendously boosted China-Africa cooperation. In 2014, our bilateral trade volume reached US$ 5.09 billion, increasing by 53% than the previous year; China’s contractual investment to Kenya reached US$ 590 million, an increase of 10.2% compared to the previous year; Chinese companies undertook US$3.47 billion worth of infrastructure projects in Kenya, an increase of 67.7 per cent over the previous year. China has become Kenya’s largest source of financing, its largest construction project contractor and second-largest trade partner. Especially under the framework of Vision 2030, China and Kenya are working together closely in many fields, and have built or are building a number of flagship projects. These have greatly improved Kenya’s capacity of self-development and laid a solid foundation for Kenya’s future prosperity.

On infrastructure, Chinese companies have brought their advantages into full play, and have been actively involved in constructing roads, railways, airports and ports in Kenya. The Thika Superhighway, a landmark project constructed by three Chinese companies, has brought a number of job opportunities to the Kenyans and propelled the economic development in areas along the road. The Mombasa-Nairobi SGR, currently being built by China Road & Bridge, has been the largest infrastructure project since the independence of Kenya. During its construction, it will create more than 30,000 local jobs and lift Kenya’s GDP growth by 1.5%. When completed, it will have reduced the Mombasa-Nairobi transportation cost by about 40%, and will boost business along the railway and create numerous jobs. The expansion of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and the construction of Greenfield Airport by CATIC etc, will remarkably improve Kenya’s aviation capacity, and further enhance Kenya’s unique position as the transportation hub in East Africa. The Chinese companies will actively participate in the Mombasa Port and Lamu Port projects so as to help increase Kenya’s cargo throughput and promote its imports and exports. There are far more model projects like these, which have become success stories in Kenya’s households and the symbols of China-Kenya friendship.

In the field of energy, which is the lifeline for Kenya’s economic take-off and industrialization, the Chinese government vigorously provides financing assistance and promotes Chinese companies to engage in related projects. The Olkaria 140-megawatt geothermal power station, which is the largest of its kind in Africa, has come into operation recently. PetroChina and Sinopec took part in constructing this project, which has improved Kenya’s power generation capacity and reduced local electricity price by around 30%. China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) is now pursuing the Uganda-Kenya oil pipe project, which, when completed, will reduce the local oil price and make Kenya’s oil supply more stable and secure. Some Chinese company will construct the Garissa 50-megawatt photovoltaic power plant, which, upon completion, will become the solar power plant with the largest installed capacity in Africa. China supports the Nairobi power distribution upgrading and strengthening project, which will play a role in enhancing the stable supply of Nairobi’s power grid, especially for street lights, so as to “lighten up” Nairobi. The Chinese side is considering this project favorably and will encourage Chinese contractors to bid for tender.

When it comes to High Tech transfer, which Kenya urgently needs for sustainable growth, a number of key projects are being carried out steadily by Chinese companies. Huawei has been doing business in Kenya for years and greatly promoting Kenya’s information and communication technology. Recently, Huawei helped Safaricom successfully relocate and upgrade the M-PESA system, making it more functional and stable and benefitting the Kenyans. Not long ago, the Sino-Africa Joint Research Centre, a collaboration project between the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, had officially broken ground. This project will help strengthen China-Africa cooperation in areas of biodiversity protection, desertification prevention and management, modern agricultural demonstration and eco-environment protection. Nanjing Agricultural University and Egerton University are working together to set up a China-Kenya Joint Laboratory for Crop Molecular Biology, which will greatly improve Kenya’s capacity in molecular biological technology and train a number of specialists in this field for Kenya.

Lastly and more importantly, with respect to youth employment and entrepreneurship, which is a decisive element of Kenya’s future prosperity, the Chinese side offers valuable support to Kenyan youth through facility assistance and vocational training. The collaboration between the Chinese side and the Kenya National Youth Service (NYS) can be labeled as a model. On one hand, the Kenyan side purchases machineries and communication equipments from China, and widely use them in construction of roads, water conservancy and irritation projects as well as disaster relief, promoting Kenya’s infrastructure and economic and social development; on the other hand, the Chinese side helps NYS conduct vocational and technological trainings to improve the employment of the Kenyan youth. Up to now, NYS has trained a total of around 40,000 skillful young workers. They will become the major labor force of Kenya’s future industrialization.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Regarding developing economy and improving livelihood, China and Kenya are highly mutually complementary and each has its own advantages. Through successful practices since the establishment of New China over 60 years ago, especially since the reform and opening up over 30 years ago, China has mastered advanced manufacturing technologies. For now, China’s outputs of more than 220 major industrial products rank world No.1. China also has rich experiences in developing industrial parks and special economic zones. Kenya has solid industrial foundation, sound regulatory and legal system, vigorous financial market and strong regional influence.

In May this year, Kenyan National Assembly Speaker Hon. Justin Muturi visited China. During his bilateral talks with Hon. Justin Muturi, H.E. Zhang Dejiang, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress stressed that Kenya is a pilot country among the first batch of African countries with which China is carrying out high-speed railways, highways, regional aviation, industrialization and industrial cooperation. During his visit in Kenya in January this year, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Kenyan Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Minister Amina jointly signed a MOU on establishing China-Kenya bilateral steering committee, and promoted both sides to further expand exchanges and cooperation in 7 key fields, which are agricultural modernization, infrastructure, industrial and technological transfer, renewable energy, eco-environmental protection, people-to-people and cultural and tourism engagement and peace and security. These have paved way for China-Kenya practical cooperation in future.

China is willing to share its advanced technologies with Kenya, among other African countries, to carry out industrial cooperation, and encourage companies with capacity and good reputation to invest and do business in Kenya, focusing on strengthening the cooperation in special economic zones, processing and manufacturing and infrastructure, so as to create more development spaces, generate more cooperative potential and bring benefits to the Kenyan and African people. I wish that both sides will make joint efforts on China-Kenya industrial cooperation to secure early harvest, set up a model for China-Africa industrial cooperation and bring China-Kenya comprehensive cooperative partnership to new heights.

Ladies and gentlemen,

At present, China-Kenya relationship is better than any time in history. Both countries should take advantage of this golden opportunity to explore new potential for cooperation, build up new advantages and create new highlights for furthering bilateral ties. Present here are Kenyan government officials, parastatal principals and private business leaders. You are the core forces to deliver Vision 2030 and the backbones for promoting China-Kenya all-round cooperation and benefitting both peoples. I do hope that everybody could vigorously offer valuable and constructive advices and suggestions for enhancing our bilateral cooperation. It is also highly expected that you could exert personal influence on relevant authorities of Kenya, so they will legislate more to encourage and protect foreign capital, introduce more preferential government policies to attract foreign investment, and provide more “one stop office for all” service. In this way, favourable environment can be created for China-Kenya infrastructure and industrial cooperation. As Chinese Ambassador to Kenya and your sincere friend, I am ready to stay in close contact with the Kenyan side in this regard.

Asanteni Sana! (Thank you in Swahili language)

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