60 Years of Nairobi-Beijing Relations

Prime Cabinet Secretary and Foreign and Diaspora Affairs Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi and China Ambassador to Kenya Zhou Pingjian during a ceremony to commemorate 60 years of cooperation between the two countries on Thursday last week (14, December, 2023). Nairobi and Beijing vowed trade ties between them. Photo: Barrack Oduor

Kenya is seeking to deepen its ties with China over a fresh quest for trade and diplomatic benefits.

The government has announced intentions to push for increased partnership between Beijing and Nairobi after 60 years of cooperation.

Prime Cabinet Secretary and Foreign and Diaspora Affairs Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi who spoke during the marking the 60th Anniversary of China-Kenya Diplomatic Relations in an event he described as representing the culmination of many years of consistent, trusting, collaborative, and mutually beneficial partnership between Nairobi and Beijing.

After Kenya gained its independence from Britain in 1963, China became the 4th Country to establish Diplomatic Relations with Kenya.

“Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two Nations, our relationship has grown by leaps and bounds and I have no doubt that it will continue to advance through shared prosperity and mutual understanding,” said Mudavadi.

The Kenyan top diplomat applauded China for its transformative initiatives in Kenya and Africa whose socio-economic impacts have been far-reaching.

As one of the few countries with a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership with China, the highest form of Bilateral Relations, Kenya’s developmental landscape has benefited the most from China’s investment.

Mudavadi said the recent Official Visit to China by President Ruto to participate in the third Road and Belt Initiative High Level Forum held in Beijing and the numerous high-level visits between the two capitals emphasizes the centrality of our bilateral and people to people relations.

China is Kenya’s largest trading partner, largest source country of contracted companies and one of the most important sources of employment for Kenyans accounting for up to 50,000 Kenyans, hired by the 400 Chinese Firms doing business in the country across various sectors ranging from; infrastructure, ICT, manufacturing, and other service sectors.

The recent decision by Chinese Authorities to admit Kenya’s avocados and other green produce into the Chinese market is a boon to our horticultural farmers.

Mudavadi said China’s tourist arrivals to Kenya are also on the rise and Kenya is implementing deliberate measures to tap into the more than 100 million Chinese tourist market.

China Ambassador to  Kenya Zhou Pingjian said China will do what it can to help Kenya’s development  following the good cooperation the two countries have enjoyed.

 “China is truly grateful to the government and people of Kenya for the great support and selfless help you have given China over the years,” said Pingjian. 

Pingjian also said China and Kenya have pursued win-win for mutual benefit and common development. “Major cooperation projects such as the Moi International Sports Center (MISC) Kasarani, the SGR, the Expressway and the GTC in Nairobi, have benefited our two peoples. Our fruitful Belt and Road cooperation has opened a new era of Zheng He.”

He reiterated that Nairobi and Beijing’ have pursued fairness and justice by both upholding the purposes and principles of the UN Charter.

“We both oppose intervention in domestic affairs, racial discrimination, unilateral sanctions, and hegemonism. We are both committed to upholding the rights and interests of developing countries. China will never forget Kenya’s invaluable support in the restoration of the lawful rights of the People’s Republic of China in the United Nations back in 1971 and highly appreciates Kenya’s firm commitment to the one-China principle.,” said Pingjian.

According to Pingjian, President Ruto had a friendly and in-depth exchange of views and reached important common understandings on the future development of bilateral relations with China president when he last October attended the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in China.

“China stands ready to work with Kenya to put into action the Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative, the Global Civilization Initiative, and implement the outcomes of the Belt and Road Forum and the FOCAC meetings, so as to better support Kenya’s Vision 2030 and the Bottom-up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA),” he said.  

During Ruto’s visit to China in October, he expressed his hope that the Kenya-China relationship will usher in a future of continuous development, prosperity, friendship, and common progress.

China is one of Kenya’s largest trading partners, with trade volume exceeding $8.5 billion (Sh 1.3 trillion) last year, a year-on-year increase of 22.9 percent.

 


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