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China to fund various projects in Kenya amid growing ties

Updated: Dec 7,2015 9:47 AM     Xinhua

NAIROBI — Chinese government has agreed to invest in various infrastructural projects ranging from railway, conference facilities, industrial parks in Kenya for sustainable development, a government official said on Dec 6.

“The government of China has offered 300 million Renminbi (about $46 million) for a conference facility in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” State House Spokesman Manoah Espisu told journalists in Nairobi after President Uhuru Kenyatta returned from the FOCAC summit held in South Africa.

Esipisu said Kenya has a shortage of international-standard conference facilities, and “the generous offer helps us meet that need.”

During the summit, Kenyatta met Chinese President Xi Jinping and held discussions on improving growing ties between Kenya and China, based on equality, mutual trust and benefit as well as win-win outcomes.

President Xi assured President Kenyatta of China’s commitment to ensuring that its joint development projects with Kenya succeed.

Esipisu said Kenya and China understand the importance of education, training and capacity building for sustainable development, noting that is why President Xi assured President Kenyatta of a grant of 1,000 new university scholarships for Kenyans who wish to study in China.

“Progress was also reported on the China-Kenya joint laboratory for crop molecular biology at Egerton University. It is central to the new agriculture initiatives China and Africa are considering,” he said.

He said President Kenyatta held a highly successful bilateral meeting with President Xi, and reviewed areas of Kenya-China cooperation, such as the standard gauge railway (SGR) whose Mombas-Nairobi line is expected to be completed in June 2017.

Esipisu said the Kenya Railways and China Communications Construction Company Ltd (CCCC) signed a MoU in November for a joint feasibility study, and for preliminary designs for phase two of the SGR, which covers the 489 km Nairob-Malaba line.

He said the phase would start with the extension of the SGR from Nairobi to Naivasha, about 90 km northwest of Kenya.

“On the margins of FOCAC, Kenya and China signed a financing package for the extension: China Eximbank will provide a 1.5 billion dollars loan, 85 percent of the financing, while Kenya will provide the balance,” Esipisu said, adding that the National Treasury and China Exim Bank will soon finalize compliance before disbursement and the start of construction.

China will also finance the building of an industrial park in Naivasha, using steam power for the manufacture of well-priced commodities, according to the spokesman.

He said that some 25,000 Kenyan engineers and workers will be hired on the project, while 15,000 local skilled workers and 400 engineers are being mentored.

Esipisu said Kenya and China are also working to catalyze social and economic activity along the catchment of the SGR route, and the creation of Mombasa Special Economic Zone.