By Claire Wanja/Statement
Kenya and China have held inaugural Bilateral Steering Committee (BSC) meeting in Beijing, China.
Kenyan delegation led by Cabinet Secretary Amb. Amina Mohamed and comprising of three Cabinet Secretaries, two Principal Secretaries and technical officials held day long discussions with their China counterparts led by Foreign Minister, H.E. Wang Yi.
“This BSC is being held on the instruction of our presidents and on the basis of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between our two countries in January 2015 establishing the BSC,” said CS Amina.
The MOU was drawn to consolidate and develop Kenya-China comprehensive partnership of equality, mutual trust, mutual benefit and a win-win outcome. It aims to promote exchanges and cooperation in political, economic, cultural fields among others.
“We are keen to help Kenya fast-track its development agenda in a comprehensive manner and are therefore targeting among others port development and management, transport infrastructure and special economic zones (SEZ). We look forward to signing an investment treaty and avoidance of double taxation agreement soon as we heighten our operations in Kenya,” said Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
It was clear from the Kenya delegation what the government is prioritising with Energy and Petroleum, Infrastructure, Transport and Housing and Industrialisation, Investment and Trade as Cabinet Secretaries, Charles Keter, James Macharia and Adan Mohamed respectively joining their Foreign Affairs counterpart.
The Beijing talks were anchored also on the ten major plans to boost cooperation with Africa in the next three years as announced by China President Xi Jinping during the Forum for China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit held in Johannesburg, South Africa in December last year.
The heart of the plans is a comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership in areas of industrialisation, agriculture, infrastructure, financial services, green development, trade and investment, poverty reduction, capacity building, and public welfare, public health, people-to-people exchanges, peace and security.
CS Amina told the meeting Kenya was gearing itself to tap into the pledges made under FOCAC framework. Under Vision 2030 development blue print, various numerous projects have been identified to fall under this framework.
Said CS Amina; “Today, China is leading trade, investment and development partner for Kenya. Our engagements in the areas of commerce, transport and communication, human resource development, science and technology and energy have been transformational. We are committed to further consolidate our collaboration in all areas of interest for the mutual benefit of our two peoples.”
She said Kenya had established a structured mechanism that will be tasked with engaging the Chinese side under the FOCAC framework including the establishment of focal point.
The meeting agreed to meet early next year in Nairobi to review progress and further move forward the development cooperation between the two countries.