Trade, infrastructure top agenda as President Kenyatta meets China special envoy
President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday at State House, Nairobi held talks on trade and infrastructure with a special envoy sent by President Xi Jinping of China.
The President and the special representative, Mr Yang Jiechi, who is also a senior official of the Communist Party of China, discussed the bilateral ties between Kenya and China.
President Kenyatta said Kenya’s cooperation with China has enabled the country to make strides in development, and is helping the country and the region open up for more trade.
The President said infrastructure projects which Kenya has undertaken with Chinese partnership are helping connect the region, attract investment and create more jobs.
He said the governments of the two countries enjoy very cordial relations and urged the private sector from the two countries to utilize that friendship to play a bigger role in development programmes.
“We need to really now focus on how we can work together to get our private sector, our investors to work more closer together. How do we attract Chinese investors, manufacturers, industrialists and other business people to invest in Kenya,” the President told his guest.
In addition to avocados which recently gained access to the expansive Chinese market, the President said he would like to see more Kenyan products, especially tea and coffee on Chinese shelves.
Mr Yang, who delivered a special message from President Xi to President Kenyatta, said China was committed to continue partnering with Kenya through the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the China-Africa Cooperation Forum (FOCAC).
He said BRI and FOCAC aligned infrastructure projects were aimed at fostering intra-Africa commerce as well as inter-regional trade between Africa and Asia.
“With the railway, we can have industrial parks, all kinds of trading activities. With the railway there will be easy access, efficient access of products to markets either in Africa or in China or in other continents,” Mr Yang said.
On the trade imbalance between Kenya and China, the visiting Chinese official assured President Kenyatta that his country was working on opening up the Chinese market to more Kenyan products.
The President was joined in the meeting by Cabinet Secretaries Monica Juma (Foreign Affairs), Ukur Yatani (National Treasury) and James Macharia (Infrastructure) invited President Xi to visit Kenya during his next visit to Africa.