Kenya is keen on strengthening its relations with China to spur economic growth in the country, president William Ruto has said.
President Ruto made the remarks while he hosted visiting Member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and Director of the Office of Central Committee for Foreign Affairs, His Excellency Wang Yi this morning at State House, Nairobi.
Wang arrived in the country yesterday night for a three days’ state visit.
Ruto added that the government will work closely with China on infrastructure development, climate change, ICT, education and security.
He noted that Kenya was particularly focused on the development of roads under the Forum on China Africa Cooperation.
“Investment in this sector will spur economic growth and create jobs for the people under our Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda.” President Ruto noted.
Wang’s visit into the country is seen as a spirited push by the China to resuscitate dwindling relations with the president Ruto’s administration after enjoying a two decade long undeterred penetration in Kenya’s economy during the late retired president Mwai Kibaki and immediate former president Uhuru Kenyatta’s reign.
However, after Ruto’s ascendancy to power, the command influence the Chinese state owned companies in infrastructure and energy sectors have seemingly shrunk significantly amid huge entry by the western countries notably the United States of America (USA) and the United Kingdom taking the lead in calling the shots.
Among the key highlights that have marked strained relations between China and Kenya under president Ruto’s leadership is the China Square row in Juja, Kiambu county earlier this year that saw the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China issue ultimatum to Kenyan government against move by Trade, Investments and Industry Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria to close down the outlet.
“The Embassy has taken note of the recent situation on the issue of “China Square”, and would like to reiterate that the Embassy supports deepening trade and investment cooperation between China and Kenya, and supports Chinese enterprises and Chinese citizens in conducting business in accordance with Kenyan laws and regulations.” The statement read in part.
The embassy demanded that the Kenyan government must protect the rights of its citizens and legitimate investors of Chinese decent.
“At the same time, we hope that the Kenyan government will protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese enterprises and Chinese citizens, and create an inclusive and friendly business environment, so as to better promote China-Kenya practical cooperation and bring benefit to our two countries and two peoples,” the Embassy said.
Today, president Ruto noted that his administration plans to upgrade the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) and the ports of Mombasa and Lamu.
He said the development of a new Greenfield terminal and a new runway at JKIA, the dualling of Rironi-Naivasha-Nakuru-Mau Summit will elevate the country’s competitiveness.
The Head of State noted that these projects can be pursued either under the Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) or government to government.
“We are ready to expedite discussions and conclude on details on the proposed projects for implementation.” Ruto added.
He assured Chinese investors of the government’s commitment to providing security to everyone.
Yi said China will continue working with Kenya for the two country’s prosperity.
“China will consider Kenya government’s priority areas of interest.” Wang noted.
He said the Chinese government fully supports president Ruto’s administration and invited him to visit Beijing.
Wang will also visit Nigeria and South Africa where he will attend the 13th Meeting of BRICS National Security Advisers and High Representatives on National Security meeting.