• With deepening Sino-Africa diplomacy, statistics show an insurgence of over a million Chinese in Africa, with another 500,000 Africans settling in China. Nairobi is an obvious destination.
• Cabinet secretaries must up the art of navigating the delicate balance between geopolitical trends and long-standing traditions in dealing with unwanted competition
The reopening of China Square in Nairobi can be superficially summarised as a perfect end to the sensationalisation induced by Trade and Industry CS Moses Kuria.
It is, however, a loud indicator that the warm Southerly trade winds are still devotedly blowing over the Indian Ocean to mainland Africa. Continued renewal of the deep South-South ties.
Although not profound, from the onset, the unmeasured attacks that birthed the transient shut-down of the outlet threatened a bigger cause unknown to many. To put to perspective the net effect of the extra policy rush, one needs to examine the nexus between reflex proclamations and real geopolitical consequences they portend.
The global South-South cooperation will be celebrating its golden Jubilee in under six years. The overarching goal of the collaboration, which was centred on promoting and implementing technical reciprocation among developing countries sprung into life following the adoption of the Buenos Aires Plan of Action in 1978.
Global trade leaped into the future. Henceforth, sub-Saharan Africa and her least industrialised Asian and the Caribbean peers have significantly lifted millions out of destitution.
On its part, the UN responded to the agenda by establishing the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation. This unit facilitated developed nations to join the equation as catalysts thus delivering South-South Triangular Cooperation.
Effectively, the global convener dived into years of action that propelled immense transformation. To cement, the position taken by parties to foster self-reliance among developing countries, in 1996 the UN Fund for South-South Cooperation was founded.
Kenya has gained significant opportunities in this journey. In October 2013, Nairobi hosted over 800 delegates from 130 states in the significant Global South-South Development Expo in partnership with UNOSSC. Being the undisputed gateway to and economic hub in the East Africa region, Kenya has strategically drawn in the interests advanced by southern brothers and triangular partners alike.
Some of the future shaping investments in Kenya attributed to the cooperation include migration to modern agricultural practices such as irrigation, advanced crop management, aquaculture, and livestock production to alleviate food and nutritional poverty.
Kenya’s healthcare sector has exceedingly harvested from the Southerly arrangement, including the recent deployment of Cuban doctors in local facilities. The gains in road, railway and housing infrastructure cannot be overemphasized.
However, in the last decade, President Uhuru Kenyatta's concentration Southwardly, especially in China, was broadcast dogmatically. Major infrastructure projects such as the SGR and the Nairobi expressway attracted significant commercial interests.
Infrastructure CS Kipchumba Murkomen is yet another agent of aggression on the South-South deal following his threat to “expose” contents of the SGR contract. Perhaps this is the cause of sporadic shift to the West.
It must not be lost on Kenyans that in the quest to transform the largest East African economy into a middle-income nation, Kenyan leaders have unequivocally contrasted our stagnation post-independence to the transformation of the four Asian tigers.
Beginning the millennium, high-level state speeches borrowed heavily from the model deployed by Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea.
In practice, President Mwai Kibaki, now deceased, reformed Kenya’s public sector with a raft of strategies with respect to new public management. A predominantly Southern and Japanese inspired concept. While western development partners and United Nations agencies have been invaluable, in the post-Moi clean-up we profited more from the double south reciprocity.
With deepening Sino-Africa diplomacy, statistics show an insurgence of over a million Chinese nationals in AFrica, with another 500,000 Africans settling in China. Nairobi is an obvious destination. Cabinet secretaries must up the art of navigating the delicate balance between geopolitical trends and long-standing traditions in dealing with unwanted competition stemming from preferential agreements and complementarity, particularly in industry and agriculture.
Rattling a single foreign business is worth far-reaching geopolitical consequences.
In dealing with the apparent policy shift, policyholders must be clinical. It is possible to alienate bilateral partners without publicity.The past is indelible.
The future is an open book. Jeopardizing past relations and decades of investments must not be an agenda in the Kenya Kwanza power book. A bumpy departure is disastrous as Kenya is not only heavily indebted to Southern partners such as China but has an inalienable duty of care towards 129 of her peers subscribed to the club.
Government officials must be guided appropriately to carefully pick up relationships over wars on the global tray.
Philip Pande is an economist an governance analyst