Remarks by H. E. Dr. Liu Xianfa, Chinese Ambassador to Kenya, at the First Event of the Gratitude Performances presented by the Confucius Institutes in Kenya at Mombasa-Nairobi SGR Project

(Site office of Section No.9 of the Mombasa-Nairobi SGR Project, 24th August 2015)

Respected Hon. Inspector General Boinet,

Respected General Manager Mr. Sun Liqiang,

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

Habari Zenu? Good afternoon! It is my great pleasure to join everyone present today to enjoy the brilliant performance jointly presented by the teachers and students of the Confucius Institutes in Kenya and the Chinese and Kenyan staff of the Mombasa-Nairobi SGR Project, among others. Please allow me, on behalf of the Chinese Embassy in Kenya, to extend my warm welcome to all the distinguished guests. I also wish to express sincere gratitude to the teachers and students of the Confucius Institutes in Kenya, China Road & Bridge and the local communities, who have well organized this performance.

The Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway is the largest infrastructure project of Kenya over the last one hundred years. It is also the flagship project under Kenya’s Vision 2030. Upon completion of construction, the project will upgrade Kenya’s transportation network, reduce the costs of logistics, create a great number of jobs and drive Kenya’s economic development. It will serve as a “fast track” for the progress and prosperity of Kenya, East and Middle Africa, thus promoting the realization of the new African dream. Ever since the start of construction, the Mombasa-Nairobi SGR Project has achieved significant and vigorous progress. Up to now, over 50% of the construction work of sub-grade, bridges and culverts has been completed ahead of schedule. The Section No.9 campsite of the SGR Project, where today’s event is being held, takes charge of the above-line system such as the electric power signals. In the near future, it will be the command centre of the SGR operation system. So far, the designs of the integration engineering of the electric power signals, among others, have been completed. Let’s pay high tribute to the SGR constructors for their great efforts!

The SGR project cannot be a success without the great guidance and support from the governments and leaders of our two countries. During Kenyan President Kenyatta’s visit to China in August, 2013, his first State Visit out of Africa, Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Kenyatta jointly witnessed the signing of the financing MoU of the SGR project. In November 2013, President Kenyatta presided over the groundbreaking ceremony of the SGR project. In May 2014, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and President Kenyatta, together with leaders of other East African countries, attended the signing ceremony of the financing agreement of the SGR project. Premier Li urged China Communications Construction Company to meticulously construct the SGR project, provide the Kenyan counterparts with needed and qualified equipment and offer operation and management trainings to local employees. President Kenyatta, Deputy President Ruto and other Kenyan leaders all have attached great importance to the SGR project. They have paid inspection visits to various sections of the SGR project every quarter of the year, and held on-site working meetings with the Chinese Embassy, China Road and Bridge, Kenyan Cabinet Secretaries, Governors and heads of relevant Kenyan departments. They have given full support on difficulties tackling and problems solving to guarantee the all-round and rapid implementation of the project. The united and concerted efforts between the Chinese and Kenyan governments have created favorable and excellent conditions for the construction of the SGR project.

The SGR project cannot be a success without the hardworking of both Kenyan and Chinese staff and workers. At present, over 1000 Chinese experts and more than 10000 local engineers, project supervisors and workers are working shoulder by shoulder to tackle tough situations and speed up the construction. Every forward yard of the railway witnesses their sweat and contribution. Despite of different languages and habits of working and living, but driven by one common goal, both Chinese and Kenyan engineers and workers gather together and learn profoundly from each other, having built up solid friendship. In order to improve technical capability of the Kenyan employees and promote technology transfer, the SGR project has recently established a talent training base. It is estimated that the project will cultivate 15000 skilled workers and 400 engineers and advanced technicians. Furthermore, plans of setting up a talent reserve for railway operation and maintenance and a railway academy are under consideration, so as to train key staff in railway construction for Kenya.

The SGR project cannot be a success without the active participation of the Chinese and Kenyan people. Eagerly expecting the success of the project, the local residents along the railway have been very supportive of the project by signing up for the construction, providing logistics services or taking up security work. Others have also been actively involved in the railway construction by providing construction materials and offering services to relevant auxiliary works. Thus, the SGR project has benefited the local community enormously as well by having hired 94% ordinary workers and 64% of skilled workers from local. Besides, a great deal of construction materials like cement and dinas and commodities of daily use have been purchased locally. What’s more, the project has won broad praises by digging wells for villages and building and renovating local orphanages and schools. And even more important, the local concerns of environmental protection are fully taken into consideration by the project. Eco-passageways as well as others special practices to avoid disturbing the wildlife have been well adopted.

Ladies and gentlemen,

During Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to Kenya in May last year, he pointed out that China-Africa cooperation lies not only in projects but also in people-to-people exchanges and heart-to-heart communication. Between China and Kenya, there are not only the sample and symbolic projects like the Mombasa-Nairobi SGR Project, but also several Confucius Institutes established in Kenya, which have added to the glory of China-Kenya cultural and people-to-people exchanges. So far, four Confucius Institutes and one Confucius Class have been set up in Kenya, who is now one of the African countries with the largest number of Confucius Institutes. Each of the Confucius Institutes in Kenya has its own special features and advantages. They bring their superiority of Chinese language and culture teaching into full play, and have further enhanced China-Kenya cooperation in the fields of agriculture, textile, costume designing and so on. The performers on stage from the Confucius Institutes in Kenya are all outstanding students. They wish, through their talent shows, to express support and gratitude towards the railway constructors. The purpose of holding this event is also to strengthen China-Kenya cultural and people-to-people exchanges, enhance the understanding and friendship between the two peoples, and win support for future development of China-Kenya relations, including major projects such as industrial capacity cooperation.

In August 2013, which was two years ago, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Kenyan President Kenyatta jointly established the China-Kenya comprehensive cooperative partnership featuring equality, mutual trust and mutual benefit. Guided by the consensus of both Presidents, the China-Kenya comprehensive cooperative partnership has gained early harvests, which can be best symbolized by the construction achievements of the Mombasa-Nairobi SGR project. I believe that the SGR will not only bring tremendous changes all over Kenya, but also become a model of China-Kenya win-win cooperation in history. Let’s further strengthen cooperation, integration and mutual learning, and unite as one with concerted efforts, so as to make the SGR a perfect one and always keep it in excellent conditions. The SGR, a railway of friendship, cooperation and mutual benefits, will definitely contribute to an even brighter future of China-Kenya friendship cooperation!

Finally, I wish a complete success of today’s event!

Now, I declare the commencement of the art performance!

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