• China and Kenya are good friends, good partners and good brothers.
• Under the strategic guidance of President Xi Jinping and President Uhuru Kenyatta, the China-Kenya relationship has made significant progress.
The eighth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) will be held on November 29 and 30 in Dakar, the capital of Senegal, the African co-chair of FOCAC. With the theme of “Deepen China-Africa Partnership and Promote Sustainable Development to Build a China-Africa Community with a Shared Future in the New Era”, the conference will review and assess the follow-up implementation of the outcomes of the 2018 FOCAC Beijing Summit as well as the joint China-Africa response to COVID-19, and chart the course for China-Africa relations for the next three years and more to come. This will inject new impetus into the China-Africa comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership and make new contributions to upholding the overall interests of developing countries and advancing world peace, stability, development and prosperity in a post-COVID era.
China and Kenya are good friends, good partners and good brothers. Under the strategic guidance of President Xi Jinping and President Uhuru Kenyatta, the China-Kenya relationship has made significant progress in recent years and is in its best shape. Our fruitful and wide-ranging practical cooperation stands out in China-Africa cooperation.
A good case in point is our Belt and Road cooperation. Just look around this beautiful green city in the sun. The Nairobi JKIA expansion. The Nairobi City Center EHV and 66KV Network Upgrading and Reinforcement. The Nairobi-Mombasa SGR. The Nairobi-Malaba SGR Phase I. The Nairobi Bypass. The Nairobi Expressway. The Nairobi GTC. All these projects, commissioned or under construction in spite of the Covid pandemic challenge, were non-existent when I left Kenya in July 2011 upon the completion of my three-year stint in the Embassy. Nor were there the Nairobi-Guangzhou, Nairobi-Changsha, Narobi-Shenzhen direct flights.
Imagine how excited I was when I saw these projects with my own eyes shortly after my return to Nairobi flying Kenya Airways from Guangzhou in August last year for my new tenure. No big surprise to me, though. As I see it, these Kenyan projects in partnership with China are here for Kenyans in a fairly short period of time, for some good reasons.
First and foremost, the Kenyan government and people have been actively implementing the Kenya Vision 2030 since 2007. Infrastructure, according to the 2030 Vision, is topmost on the list of the foundations for Kenya’s socio-economic transformation, “to ensure that the main projects under the economic pillar are implemented, investment in the nation’s infrastructure will be given the highest priority.”
And, Kenya has friends. China proves to be a good one, a reliable and predictable one. Sharing a profound tradition of friendship, China and Kenya always view the other’s development as its own opportunity and both seek to promote mutual development and prosperity through closer cooperation. Guided by the principle of upholding justice while pursuing shared interests and the principle of sincerity, real results, affinity, and good faith, which were put forward by President Xi during his first state visit to Africa in March 2013, China stays firmly committed to strengthening solidarity and cooperation with Kenya.
To Belt and Road cooperation, connectivity is vital, and the bedrock of connectivity is infrastructure. It is the lack of infrastructure that has held up the industrialization and national development of many countries. Small wonder infrastructure development has been a top priority for China-Kenya Belt and Road cooperation in recent years and remarkable progress has been made in this regard through concerted efforts.
I like the title of a recently launched Africa Policy Institute report. Shared Prosperity: Tracking the Belt and Road Initiative in Kenya. Indeed, following the principle of extensive consultation and joint contribution for shared benefits, our Belt and Road cooperation across the board is in nature brotherly win-win cooperation between equal partners.
The defining feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics is the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC). To understand China, it is essential to have a good understanding of the CPC. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CPC. Earlier this month, the sixth plenary session of the 19th CPC Central Committee reviewed the major achievements and historical experience of the CPC over the past century. It clearly pointed out that China champions opening up over isolation, pursues mutual benefit instead of zero-sum games, and stands up for fairness and justice.
We are keenly aware that opening the door brings progress, while closing it leaves one behind. Going forward, China will only become more and more open and continue to pursue the Belt and Road Initiative as a priority. As China embarks on a new historic journey, we are willing to strengthen the alignment of development strategies with Kenya and take an active part in Kenya’s Big Four Agenda and Vision 2030. We will work hand in hand with Kenya to take forward Belt and Road cooperation and implement the outcomes of the upcoming FOCAC conference to deliver greater benefits to the peoples of both countries.
Dr. Zhou Pingjian is Ambassador of China to Kenya