The friendship between China and Kenya goes back over 600 years, when the fleets led by the great Chinese navigator Zheng He visited the Kenyan coast four times during his seven voyages to the Western seas.
On December 12, 1963, a delegation led by Marshal Chen Yi, Vice-Premier and Foreign Minister, attended Kenya’s Independence celebrations.
Two days later, the two governments published the “China-Kenya Joint Communique” and established formal diplomatic relations at ambassadorial level, making China the fourth country to have such ties with Kenya.
The China-Kenya cooperation enjoys great potential and broad prospects.
First, consolidate political trust. They should maintain the momentum of frequent high-level exchanges, strengthen political guidance and consolidate mutual trust, providing the political safeguards for the cooperation.
As strategic partners of mutual trust and assistance, the two should continue to firmly support each other on issues concerning each other’s core interests and major concerns. Secondly, seize the golden opportunities.
This year, the leaders of China and Kenya reached broad consensus during the FOCAAC Beijing Summit and the first China International Import expo.
China and Kenya should seize the golden opportunity of the China-Kenya cooperation, actively implement the consensus reached by the leaders and continue to push forward the integration of the Belt and Road Initiative with Kenya’s development strategies such as the ‘Big Four’.
Thirdly, upgrade the cooperation. Kenya is at its initial stage of industrialisation and can make full use of the high-quality production capacity, abundant funds, advanced technologies and the rich experiences of the Chinese.
China will encourage and support mutually beneficial cooperation among Chinese and Kenyan enterprises with a goal to complement each other’s advantages, increase the added value of our products, and constantly promote the transformation and upgrading of China-Kenya cooperation.
Fourthly, promote integration and communication. Kenya and China are good friends, close partners and true brothers. China is ready to share its development experiences with and provide funds and technology to Kenya.
In recent years, an increasing number of Chinese enterprises and overseas Chinese nationals have been investing in Kenya and considering the country as their second hometown.
More and more Kenyans are also seeking business opportunities and development in China.
Right now, the Chinese people are making unremitting efforts to achieve the “Two Centenary Goals” as well as the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation, and the Kenyan people are striving for the ‘Big Four’ agenda and the achievement of Vision 2030.
The development goals of the two countries are further connected through building the BRI and a community with a shared future.
I wish the China-Kenya friendship will prosper and last for generations.
Ms Baohong is China’s Ambassador to Kenya.