China, Kenya and UK ties begin newchapter
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.
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.