China, Kenya and UK ties be­gin newchap­ter

China Daily European Weekly - - NEWS DIGEST - By EDITH MUTETHYA in Nairobi edith­mutethya@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Trade and in­vest­ment be­tween China, Kenya and the United King­dom is poised to ex­pand fur­ther fol­low­ing the re­cent sign­ing of a me­moran­dum of un­der­stand­ing be­tween the three sides.

The MoU signed be­tween Kenya China Eco­nomic and Trade As­so­ci­a­tion, Bri­tish Cham­ber of Com­merce Kenya and Kenya Pri­vate Sec­tor Al­liance will pro­vide a plat­form for Chi­nese, UK and Kenyan com­pa­nies to ex­plore and share trade and in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties as well as ex­pand ar­eas of col­lab­o­ra­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to Liu Xianfa, the Chi­nese am­bas­sador to Kenya, the MoU pro­vides a frame­work for co­op­er­a­tion for en­ter­prises from Kenya, China and the UK in such ar­eas as com­mu­ni­ca­tion and in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment.

“Both Bri­tain and China are im­por­tant de­vel­op­ment part­ners of Kenya. Com­pa­nies from the two coun­tries have their own strength in com­ple­men­tary ar­eas, thus en­joy­ing great po­ten­tial of co­op­er­a­tion,” he says.

Kenyan Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta’s at­ten­dance at the Belt and Road Fo­rum for In­ter­na­tional Co­op­er­a­tion in Bei­jing on May 14 and 15 marks the open­ing of a new chap­ter of China-Kenya co­op­er­a­tion.

“As a his­toric key point and nat­u­ral ex­ten­sion of the Mar­itime Silk Road, Kenya will be­come the gate­way for more Chi­nese en­ter­prises to ‘go into Africa’,” Liu says.

China and the UK, on the other hand, have a long his­tory of ex­ten­sive and pro­found in­ter­ac­tions, he adds. “The UK was the first ma­jor Western coun­try to rec­og­nize the PRC.”

“By sign­ing the tri­par­tite MoU, I hope we can play a big­ger role in pro­mot­ing un­der­stand­ing, strength­en­ing closer co­op­er­a­tion and unit­ing and serv­ing com­pa­nies of the three coun­tries,” he says.

While the UK is the lead­ing ex­port mar­ket for Kenya’s teas and flow­ers, Nick Hai­ley, the Bri­tish high com­mis­sioner for Kenya, says more needs to be done to en­cour­age and fur­ther deepen the trad­ing re­la­tion­ship.

“We sawthe po­lit­i­cal will to do this re­cently, when Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta and Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May made trade a fo­cal point dur­ing the pres­i­dent’s visit to the UK. I also saw the ap­petite and in­ter­est among Bri­tish busi­nesses in the Kenyan mar­ket,” he says.

Zhang Haifeng, chair­man of the Kenya China Eco­nomic and Trade As­so­ci­a­tion, says that while Chi­nese com­pa­nies have been work­ing closely with both Kenyan and Bri­tish com­pa­nies on joint ven­tures and busi­ness part­ners in ar­eas like in­fra­struc­ture, man­u­fac­tur­ing, telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion, fi­nan­cial sec­tor and tourism, it’s time to push such cor­po­ra­tions and joint ef­forts to a new level.

EDITH MUTETHYA / CHINA DAILY

From right: Liu Xianfa, Chi­nese am­bas­sador to Kenya; Zhang Haifeng, chair­man of the Kenya China Eco­nomic and Trade As­so­ci­a­tion, with Kenyan and Bri­tain rep­re­sen­ta­tives dur­ing the sign­ing of me­moran­dum of un­der­stand­ing.

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