Kenyan president says B&R forum to revitalize Africa-China ties

Updated 2017-05-11 14:30:57 Xinhua

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said that the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation will inject strong vitality into Africa-China cooperation.[Special coverage]

Kenyatta, together with other heads of state and government, will attend the forum scheduled for Sunday and Monday in Beijing.

The forum will outline a new vision for multilateral cooperation and offer an opportunity for African countries to modernize their economies with technical and financial support from China, Kenyatta told a media briefing on Tuesday.

"I look forward to this particular meeting ... and expect positive results that will be mutually beneficial in the principle of win-win situation for China, Kenya and Africa," he said.

"The trip to China presents an opportunity to push Africa's integration agenda through infrastructure development, increased trade and investments," said Kenyatta.

"That is something I, myself, and other African colleagues will be keen to share while in China," he added.

He said he will hold meetings with Chinese officials to discuss bilateral cooperation in diverse areas like trade and infrastructure development.

Kenya is also eager to push for stronger ties with China in trade, manufacturing, technology transfer and people-to-people exchanges, he said.

Proposed by China in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative aims to revive ancient land and sea trade routes that link China with many countries in Asia, Africa and Europe via trade and infrastructure networks.

Kenyatta noted that his government is keen to tap the opportunities unleashed by the initiative.

"The whole Belt and Road idea is to open up, deepen integration between regions and China is driving this agenda. It is an agenda that aims to empower people and maximize Africa's potential," said Kenyatta.

He added that the Belt and Road Initiative complements Africa's socio-economic transformation agenda that will be realized through increasing trade, economic diversification and connectivity.

"My hope is that we will see an increase in trade volumes from China to Africa and from Africa to China. I also see the potential of increasing the manufacturing capacity of the African continent by working in partnership with our Chinese friends," said the Kenyan leader.

Kenyatta said people-to-people exchanges have been one of the cornerstones of the Kenya-China relationship.

He said many Kenyans are joining the Confucius Institute because of the increasing bilateral trade volume, and many Kenyan students who trained in China have benefited from Chinese technology.

He hailed China-funded infrastructure projects like the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), saying they will stimulate investment and cross-border trade and skills transfer.

"The SGR project will open up the African hinterland and transform the life of ordinary citizens," Kenyatta said, adding that regional leaders will request additional support from China to speed up the modern railway project that would eventually extend to other Eastern and Central African countries.

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