The Work for the Year is Best Begun in Spring

The Chinese New Year, also called Spring Festival, has more than 4,000 years of history. It is the most important annual event for the Chinese and celebrated by more and more people around the world. The Spring Festival of this year falls on February 16th. It will be the Year of the Dog according to Chinese zodiac. It is an occasion for Chinese families to gather for the annual reunion dinner. It is also a time for us to review the past and look forward to the future.

In the past year, China has taken another great step towards a moderately prosperous society in all respects. Chinese economy has maintained stable performance with good momentum for growth and has been steered onto a new path featuring high-quality rather than high-speed growth. China’s GDP has reached USD 12.3 trillion, which represents an increase of 6.9% and accounts for 15% of the world’s GDP. China’s foreign exchange reserves rose to USD 3.14 trillion. The value of import and export was over USD 4.4 trillion, increasing by 14.2%. The economic structural adjustment kept stepping up. The value created by the service sector rose by 8%, contributing 51.6% to the GDP. Beside strong consumption capacity, the new driving forces of growth gained more strength. High-tech industries and equipment manufacturing grew rapidly. Emerging industries such as the digital economy are thriving and vibrant. China is becoming a country of innovation. Science and technology advancement contributed 57% to the economic growth. The research and development input has increased by 11%. 7.95 million Chinese young men and women graduated from the higher education, which is 20% of the world’s total number. Various initiatives to improve people’s livelihoods have been accelerated. Per capita disposable income increased by 7.3 % in real terms. Over 13 million new jobs were created across China. More than 10 million residents were lifted out of poverty. Our old-age insurance system now covers 900 million people. And 1.35 billion people are covered by basic medical insurance. In last year only, 129 million Chinese citizens travelled abroad. Chinese government took serious measures to conserve energy, reduce emissions and protect the environment, exceeding the obligatory targets of environmental protection.

These achievements could never be made without the strong leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC). The 19th National Congress of the CPC held last October launched a new era in Socialism with Chinese Characteristics and outlined China’s development blueprint over the next decades. In last month, the CPC delegation paid a successful visit to Kenya. The delegation exchanged views on development and governance experience with President Uhuru Kenyatta, Speaker of National Assembly Justin Muturi, Jubilee Party leaders, Kenyan media and think tanks. China is willing to share its wisdom and approach with all other developing countries, aiming to build a community with a shared future for mankind. Chinese and Kenyan publishing houses are working together to translate and publish Swahili version of the books of Chinese President Xi Jinping. This is a very meaningful project which will boost exchanges of governance experience between China and the Eastern African countries.

In every spring, the Chinese National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference hold annual sessions in Beijing. The combined sessions have been known as the two meetings, which are significant annual events drawing wide attention from China and the world. This year marks not only the first year of fully implementing the spirit of the 19th National Congress of the CPC, but also the 40th anniversary of China’s Reform and Opening-up. We will follow the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, and stay committed to our pursuit of an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security and common prosperity.

In 2018, we look forward to a world of greater openness and less isolation. The new round of global growth must be nurtured and powered by all countries. What China has learnt in its 40 years of reform and opening-up is that prosperity only comes to those who embrace the world with open arms. Opening-up will remain as China’s fundamental national policy. We will stay actively engaged in reforming and developing the global governance system to make economic globalization more balanced so that its benefits can be shared by all. We will further work on the Belt and Road Initiative by implementing deliverables of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation held in Beijing last May.

One of the most important multilateral events that China will host this year, the Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation will happen in Beijing this September. During the Summit, Chinese and African leaders will review their cooperation since the Johannesburg Summit and design a new roadmap of common development in the new era. The fruitful China-Kenya cooperation will notably highlight the Summit. The Mombasa-Nairobi SGR has become a milestone for China-Africa friendly cooperation. Over 600,000 passengers have already experienced its efficient service. Chinese side will continue to cooperate closely with Kenyan partner to guarantee its smooth operation. Meanwhile, the construction of the SGR extension line is underway. The 4,500-meter Ngong Hill Railway Tunnel, the longest one in the Eastern Africa, will be completed in the near future. As Kenya’s good friend, good brother and good partner, China will uphold its mutually beneficial strategy and work even closer with Kenya on major cooperation projects, helping Kenya realize the goals of industrialization and modernization.

Another major event is China International Import Expo to be held in Shanghai this November. Kenya will be one of few African countries that will set up a national pavilion in the Expo. Kenya’s export commodities such as coffee, tea, flowers and tourism attractions could be showcased and prompted. China warmly welcome Kenyan enterprises to seize this opportunity to expand Kenya’s export to the Chinese market.

A Chinese old saying goes, “the work for the year is best begun in spring”. As Chinese people celebrate the Spring Festival, we would like to express our sincere hope for a brighter future and greater prosperity. In the new year, we believe that Kenya will make greater progress in its national development, and that China and Kenya will push forward their Comprehensive Strategic Cooperative Partnership to a new height.

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