- President William Ruto arrived in China on Sunday to a grand reception upon landing at the Beijing Capital International Airport.
- The President was received by high-ranking officials of the Xi Jingping administration amid a display of grandeur by a detachment of the Chinese military.
President William Ruto arrived in China on Sunday to a grand reception upon landing at the Beijing Capital International Airport.
The President was received by high-ranking officials of the Xi Jinping administration amid a display of grandeur by a detachment of the Chinese military.
President Ruto, who’d be in the eastern economic powerhouse for a three-day state visit, was accompanied by First Lady Rachel Ruto and a handful of handlers.
He was chauffeured to his residence in a limousine accompanied by top members of the political bureau of the Communist Party of China.
The Kenyan head of state is in Beijing for the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation summit, a meeting set to mark 10 years of the infrastructure initiative by President Xi.
This is President Ruto's first visit to the Asian country since his election last year.
Ruto is expected to give an address at the summit also attended by other heads of state and representatives from more than 130 countries.
China’s Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying earlier announced that President Xi would give a keynote address at the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.
The host president is also expected to hold several bilateral meetings with the visiting heads of state, including President Ruto.
The forum slated for October 17 to October 18 will be under the theme “High-quality Belt and Road Cooperation: Together for Common Development and Prosperity”.
“President Xi Jinping will attend the opening ceremony of the forum and deliver a keynote speech, and hold a welcoming banquet and bilateral events for the guests attending the forum,” Chunying said.
A statement by State House, Kenya, confirmed that President Ruto would speak at the high-level infrastructure meet, as well as meet with his host on the sidelines of the meeting.
“The President will deliver a keynote address headlined ‘Digital Economy as a new source of growth’, highlighting Kenya’s advancements in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and innovation,” State House spokesperson Hussein Mohamed said.
“President Ruto will also hold bilateral talks with his host and other world leaders to discuss matters of mutual benefit and cooperation,” the statement reads in part.
Kenya is a signatory of some of the many Belt and Road Initiative agreements, and would showcase the milestones of the Standard Gauge Railway which is among signature projects under the drive to open up Africa in terms of infrastructure.
Former President Uhuru Kenyatta signed the deal.
President Ruto is further expected to take part in an investor’s roundtable “to emphasise Kenya’s standing as an investment hub for Chinese companies.”
Details by the Foreign Affairs ministry show the major events during the forum include the opening ceremony, three high-level forums, and six thematic forums.
The high-level talks would feature among issues connectivity, green development and digital economy.
The six thematic forums would delve on trade connectivity, people-to-people communication, think tank exchanges, clean Silk Road, subnational cooperation and maritime cooperation.
A CEO conference will also be held, bringing together business leaders and top bosses of global multinationals, to explore areas of mutual interests with the BRI partners.
China, under the BRI, has also been central in the construction of Nairobi expressway, expansion and modernization of Mombasa Port, and major trunk roads.
BRI, as per the China’s MFA brief, is touted as having generated more than a one trillion US dollars in investment, more than 3,000 cooperation projects, and created more than 420,000 jobs.
The Foreign Ministry further indicates the infrastructure drive has lifted more than 40 million people out of poverty, describing the same as “practical actions”.
DP Rigathi Gachagua indicated that the President would negotiate some loans with China to complete stalled road projects, and also renegotiate repayment of earlier loans.
"We are going to borrow Sh150 billion from China to complete stalled roads. The president will negotiate that loan and seek extension of of credit service for earlier loans," he said.