Kenya and China have just concluded their bilateral meeting in Mombasa, Kenya by appending their signatures to six agreements covering their cooperation in the next three years over a wide range of areas from bilateral trade and investments, ICT development, Agriculture and food security as well as general economic cooperation and the provision of humanitarian Assistance to families most affected by the covid-19 pandemic.
The signing of the six agreements was part of ongoing discussions which culminated in a two-day official visit to Kenya by the State Councilor and Minister for Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, H.E. Wang Yi on 6th January, 2022.
Significantly, the official visit by the Chinese Foreign Minister and the bilateral talks that followed focused on joint efforts to implement their Comprehensive Strategic Cooperation Partnership agreement signed by the two countries in 2018 in the spirit of the Dakar Declaration and the Dakar Action plan which emerged from the 8th Conference of Ministers of the Forum on China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) held in Dakar, Senegal from 29th to 30th November 2021.
At a joint press briefing after their talks, Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amb. Raychelle Omamo welcomed the visit to Kenya by the Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister saying that Kenya “truly cherishes the milestones made in the history of China-Africa relations through FOCAC forum for 20 years since inception.”
CS Omamo and her Chinese counterpart H.E. Wang Yi also announced that their discussions were underpinned by a mutual desire to deepen bilateral relations and cooperation based on the nine programmes announced by H.E President Xi Jinping of China during the 8th Ministerial Conference of Ministers of FOCAC. The two ministers observed that the implementation of the outcomes of the 8th Ministerial Conference of FOCAC presented an opportunity for a great leap forward in the Kenya-China cooperation.
Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs further observed that the fact that their bilateral discussions were attended by Cabinet Secretaries Hon. Betty Maina (Trade), Mr. Joseph Mucheru (ICT), Amb. Ukur Yatani (National Treasury) and Hon. Peter Munya (Agriculture) not only underscored the importance Kenya attaches to its relations with China but also the range and depth of their discussions.
The two sides deliberated at length on the impact of the Covid-19 situation globally and their joint efforts moving forward to combat the pandemic. They also explored ways to consolidate economic collaboration during the pandemic and post- pandemic with the Chinese Foreign Minister announcing that China would make available another 10 million dozes of Covid-19 vaccines to Kenya in the next one year.
The two sides also agreed to explore ways to strengthen their cooperation on the multilateral front especially at the level of the United Nations Security Council as well as in efforts to support the work of the African Union in the area of Peace and Security.
In the last two decades China has indeed risen to become one of the most important national development partners for Kenya. The Chinese Government has in the last 10 years extended considerable support to Kenya’s infrastructure development, which has really raised the country’s stature as a regional transport and communications hub as demonstrated by projects like the standard Gauge Railway (SGR). This, as explained by the Cabinet Secretary was made possible, by bilateral cooperation under the Framework of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and the Belt and Road Initiative which opened up Development Cooperation in many spheres including social-economic, cultural and diplomatic exchanges.
During the visit, the Chinese Foreign Minister also paid a courtesy call on His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House, Mombasa after which he joined the host (President Kenyatta) on an inspection tour of the just completed Kipevu Oil Terminal (KOT) which was built by the Kenya Ports Authority using a Chinese consortium at a cost of Kshs 40 billion.
The President expressed his satisfaction with the quality of workmanship that went into the construction of the 770m jetty, noting that the project makes the KOT the largest of its kind in Africa with capacity to load and offload large vessels of up to 200,000 DWT and to offload the whole range of petroleum products ranging from crude oil, to diesel, to other white oils and LPG