China will work towards creating an enabling environment for Kenya’s business community, the Chinese Vice-President, Xi Jinping, has said.
Speaking at the just-concluded China-Africa Forum in Beijing, Xi told Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga that China held its bilateral relations with Kenya very dear, the Prime Minister’s Press Service (PMPS) said in a news dispatch.
“We have come a very long way with Kenya. We hold you in very special regard,” Xi said, adding “Accordingly, China will seek to develop special strategic business engagement with Kenya, in the spirit of the collaboration that has been spelt out by the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).
Speaking when the two leaders held bilateral talks in Beijing, the Chinese Vice President said his country would remove some tariffs on Kenyan goods to encourage Kenyans bring their goods to China.
“We would like to reduce the trade balance between our two countries,” he said, “We will therefore make it easier for your goods to come to our country.”
Xi said that while his country was the world’s second largest economy in aggregate terms and the global second exporter, it remained a developing country in per capita terms.
“As we continue to develop, we will remain sensitive to the needs of other developing countries so that they can also develop with us. We cannot repeat the mistakes that those who have developed ahead of us have made,” he told Odinga.
He said that China would be sensitive to the use of energy, environmental protection and respect for other people’s resources. “Cooperation must flow both ways. We do not wish to engage in cooperation that only benefits us while hurting others.”
Odinga thanked China for pledging to contribute US$ 20 billion in support of various initiatives in Africa this year.
He noted with satisfaction that this year alone, Kenya had concluded some 16 bilateral agreements with China.
The prime minister called for opening up of more opportunities in human capacity building in technical areas, through direct training and through scholarships.
Odinga invited China to engage more in direct foreign investment in Kenya, saying “Africa is the next frontier of economic growth and development. We in Kenya welcome investment in infrastructure development, housing, energy and in ports, among other possibilities.”
Direct flights between Kenya and China by the national carrier, Kenya Airways, and China Airlines would be good for the two countries in tourism and trade, the prime minister said.
Odinga asked China to assist directly in finding a lasting solution to the chronic turmoil in Somalia and in the South Sudan and Sudan conflict, as well as in the war against piracy and the generally unstable situation in the Horn of Africa.