Kenya signed agreements worth $5 billion (Sh425 billion) with China on Monday, on the day President Uhuru Kenyatta was accorded a formal welcome including a 21-gun salute at the Great Hall of the People, the most iconic building in China.
Some $4 billion covered economic partnerships, wildlife protection, and the standard gauge railway linking the port of Mombasa and the border town of Malaba, which President Uhuru Kenyatta said would provide better access to markets to goods from Kenya as well as Uganda Rwanda, Burundi and eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Another $1 billion was for energy-related projects.
The agreements were a massive boost to the Jubilee Government, which has pledged to improve the lives of ordinary Kenyans through better service delivery that is underpinned by increased investments in all sectors of the economy.
“These agreements deepen our practical cooperation,” President Xi told President Uhuru shortly before the agreements were signed adding that China supports Kenya’s quest for industrialisation.
President Xi said China was also exploring other areas of investment, including in agribusiness, irrigation, fertiliser production and purchases, and technology.
President Xi said China would also support Kenya’s plans to host a clearing house for the Chinese renminbi currency in Nairobi – greatly boosting the Kenyan capitals credentials as a leading financial hub.
“We welcome the investment in key sectors of our economy. The rail link, particularly, is important in the context of East Africa’s shared goal of ensuring quicker movement of peoples, goods and services,” President Kenyatta said.
Presidents Xi and Uhuru pledged to increase contact between China’s ruling party and Kenya’s ruling Jubilee coalition.
They agreed that party-to-party contact was essential to bolster political and economic partnerships.