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Achieving shared dreams with Kenya

By Liu Guangyuan | China Daily | Updated: 2013-08-19 07:58

At the invitation of Xi Jinping, President of the People's Republic of China, Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya will pay a state visit to China from Aug 18 to 23. This visit, coinciding with the 50th anniversaries of the independence of Kenya and the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Kenya, will be a "journey of friendship and cooperation".

During the visit, the leaders of China and Kenya will renew their friendship, discuss cooperation and lay out the blueprints for the future development of bilateral relations. The two sides will also sign a series of cooperative agreements, which will add more vitality to the mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields. The Chinese government and people are eagerly expecting the arrival of President Kenyatta.

Looking at history, we are proud of the friendship and cooperation between China and Kenya and the two peoples. More than 600 years ago, Chinese navigator Zheng He visited Kenya four times during his seven voyages that reached Africa and the Middle East. Zheng He's story is known to all in China as well as Kenya.

Fifty years ago, Kenya won its independence through great efforts and arduous struggles. China had offered firm support to Kenya in this regard and became one of the first countries to establish diplomatic ties with Kenya.

The world has gone through constant changes in the past half century, but what has remained unchanged is the belief of both countries in the need to pursue independence, peace, development and win-win cooperation, the genuine friendship between our two peoples, and the determination of both sides to jointly create a better future on an equal footing with mutual support. China-Kenya friendship has become the treasure of both peoples. China-Kenya cooperation in various fields has gained fruitful achievements. The China-Kenya relationship has become a role model of China's friendly cooperation with other developing countries.

We enjoy profound political mutual trust with close friendly interactions at all levels in various fields. We keep close coordination in international and regional affairs and support each other on major issues related to the other side's core interests.

China does its best to provide assistance for Kenya's economic development. It has been offering grants and loans to Kenya to construct its social development and livelihood projects, such as road and power infrastructure, sports centers, hospitals, schools and so on. China has also provided Kenya with timely food assistance for drought relief.

China-Kenya economic cooperation and trade has a strong momentum. By June this year, China's cumulative direct investment in Kenya had reached $474 million. The bilateral trade volume reached $2.84 billion last year. China has become Kenya's largest source of foreign direct investment and second largest trade partner.

Investment by the Chinese companies in Kenya covers several sectors such as vehicle and home appliance assembly, and construction materials. They have established partnerships with local companies, transferred advanced and practical technology to Kenya, and created job opportunities for the local people. Eighty to 90 percent of the employees hired by the Chinese companies in Kenya are locals. In addition, the Chinese companies are devoted to carrying out their social responsibilities and making contributions to the local communities. They make donations to schools, drill wells, repair roads, sponsor healthcare and sports sectors, and live in harmony with the Kenyan people.

Our cooperation in the fields of media, culture and education has been further boosted. Four major Chinese media houses have established their African headquarters in Nairobi, and three Confucius Institutes are functioning in Kenya. The Chinese government offers more than 200 scholarships to Kenyan students annually. The number of Chinese tourists to Kenya is on the rise, soaring to more than 40,000 last year. This year, the figure has been increasing even faster.

Wildlife is Kenya's natural resource and economic pillar. The Chinese people, together with the Kenyan people, have a great abhorrence of poachers and smugglers. The Chinese government and the Kenyan government have reached a broad agreement on strengthening wildlife conservation and fighting poachers and smugglers from any country. China will provide Kenya with funds in this area.

Standing at a historical point in China-Kenya relations, and looking ahead into the future, we have every reason to believe that tomorrow will be better and we long for it with eagerness and passion.

China is now actively carrying forward industrialization, informatization, urbanization and agricultural modernization, making every effort to fulfill the Chinese dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. Under the leadership of President Kenyatta, the Kenyan government and people are striding forward toward "Vision 2030" to achieve the Kenyan dream of unity, self-reliance, development and prosperity.

We are a community of destiny with similar historical experiences and values. Our respective dreams are tightly linked with each other, which have served as an important opportunity for the development of our mutually beneficial cooperation. As long as we work together, Our friendship will become more magnificent than Mount Kenya, and the prospects of China-Kenya mutually beneficial cooperation will become broader than Masai Mara.

Before President Kenyatta sets out for China, I wish him a successful visit. I believe that he will return home with the friendship of the Chinese people. China-Kenya friendly relations and cooperation will definitely make a new leap forward and reach a higher level.

The author is China's ambassador to Kenya.

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