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Kenya hopes for Chinese private sector’s
participation in “Big Four” projects

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The Kenyan government expects Chinese private sector to participate in projects dealing with food security, affordable housing, manufacturing and affordable healthcare, says Henry Rotich, the country’s cabinet secretary for The National Treasury to Xinhua on Wednesday.

Rotich said Kenya will sell its economic agenda dubbed the Big Four during the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Summit to be held in September 2018.

“The agenda for Kenya during the FOCAC will be the Big Four. We want Chinese private sector to participate in projects associated with this agenda,” Rotich told Xinhua in Nairobi.

The Big Four agenda is a set of four targets by Kenyatta meant to be implemented in the next five years in order to grow the economy, create more jobs and improve the living standards of the county, the cabinet secretary said.

“There are huge opportunities for Chinese investors in the Big Four. As much as we partner with the Chinese government, we want to encourage more of the Chinese private sector to invest in Kenya. That is why we have continued with reforms to make it easier for investors to set up their facilities here,” said Rotich.

FOCAC Summit will be held in September in China. FOCAC was initiated in the year 2000 as a structured cooperation mechanism between China and all African countries which have diplomatic ties with the country.

Kenya’s agenda during the previous FOCAC summits has been on cooperating with China on infrastructure development and even under the Big Four, that component will be given the priority, the Kenyan official said.

“Infrastructure remains an enabler and is crucial to the realization of the Big Four,” said Rotich.



Kenya to lobby for regional projects under Belt and Road Initiative

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya will lobby for development of regional projects under the Belt and Road Initiative to enhance intra-Africa trade, a top government official has said.

“This is a very good initiative that we are following through,” Henry Rotich, Kenya’s Treasury Cabinet Secretary, told Xinhua in a recent interview.

“We see inter-regional and regional projects benefiting from it. We are going to lobby for such projects that open up regional markets to enhance intra-Africa trade,” he said.

The Belt and Road Initiative aims to connect Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa with a vast logistics and transport network, using roads, ports, railway tracks, pipelines, airports, transnational electric grids and even fiber optic lines.

In East Africa, the initiative is related to the Chinese-funded 480-km Standard Gauge Railway from the Kenya port city of Mombasa to the capital of Nairobi and is expected to extend to the neighboring Uganda.

Another combination of infrastructure projects including roads, railway, new port and oil refinery to connect the Indian Ocean town of Lamu in Kenya to Ethiopia and South Sudan is being constructed.

“We shall look at what connects Africa, like the railway line linking several African countries for trade benefit,” said Rotich.

African experts see the projects under Belt and Road Initiative not only enabling intra-Africa trade, but also helping to open other foreign markets for Africa.

In late March, African leaders launched Continental Free Trade Area which is meant to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments, and thus pave the way for accelerating the establishment of the Continental Customs Union and the African Customs Union, according to the African Union.

Intra-African trade is extremely low and currently accounts for only 10 percent of all commerce on the continent, data from the African Union shows. This is due to, among others, lack of interconnecting infrastructure across the countries making it harder and expensive to move goods within the continent.


Western countries need to understand Africa-China relations, says Kenyan official

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- A senior Kenyan government official has urged Western countries criticizing Chinese loans to Africa to try to understand the Africa-China relationship first, calling such criticism as “unwarranted”.

Chinese loans and development support has transformed Africa’s development and Africa-China relations are expected to get even stronger with time, Henry Rotich, Cabinet Secretary for The National Treasury, told Xinhua on Wednesday in an interview in Nairobi.

“Attacks on Chinese loans to Africa are unwarranted,” Rotich told Xinhua. “Those criticizing do not understand the relationship we have with China.”

He said Africa’s cooperation with China is “well structured” under the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Summit which defines the direction of the relationship and development milestones that each country wants to reach with China.

“People need time to understand the relationship. China is walking with Africa to help the continent to get to the level of the developed countries faster. This is a partnership,” he said.

“The days of conditioning support are over,” said Rotich, in reference to the Western-controlled World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s demands for Africans to undertake some economic reforms and policies before they could receive development loans.

“The way to go is mutual cooperation,” Rotich said.

Kenya adopted China as its preferred development partner in 2002 when Kenya was under the leadership of retired President Mwai Kibaki.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has continued with a strong China-Kenya policy which has resulted in support for construction of the 500 kilometer Standard Gauge Railway from coastal city of Mombasa to the capital Nairobi and constructions of several hundreds of kilometers of roads, the Treasury official said.


Chinese artists donate learning materials, sports kit to Kenyan school

NAIROBI (Xinhua)-- A group of Chinese visual artists and entrepreneurs on Thursday donated learning materials and sports kit worth about 80,000 U.S. dollars to a public school in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

The Chinese artists who are in Kenya to strengthen cultural ties with the East African nation in line with the Belt and Road Initiative said the donation of stationery and football kits would boost performance of young learners.

Zhu Guizhou, head of the delegation, said that philanthropic activities by the Chinese artistic community were aimed at building trust with long-standing allies like Kenya.

“We are willing to put more efforts to improve the lives of Kenyan children and today’s donation of books, soccer balls, bags and painting materials will enhance realization of that goal,” said Zhu.

He revealed that plans to donate learning materials to additional Kenyan public schools were also expected to strengthen cultural diplomacy with the country.

More than twenty practicing Chinese visual artists, scholars and entrepreneurs donated the learning and sporting equipment to Nairobi’s Moi Avenue Primary School that has an estimated 600 pupils from low and middle income brackets.

Liu Qitong, an arts scholar and entrepreneur, said they were keen to extend a helping hand to enable Kenyan school children to improve their academic performance.

“Our desire is to help you realize your dreams and contribute to your country’s development. We would also be keen to improve your learning environment in line with the spirit of the Belt and Road Initiative,” Liu told the students.

Ruth Chirchir, headmistress of Moi Avenue Primary School, applauded Chinese artists for their donation, saying it would boost the morale of young learners.

“The donation is ultimately going to have a positive impact on pupils as they prepare for the end of term examinations. It will boost their academic performance and social skills,” said Chirchir.

Young learners too said they were impressed by the stationery and sporting kits donated by Chinese artists and pledged to work harder and improve on their grades.

Njoroge Macharia, a 12-year-old class seven pupil, said he liked the gift of a new bag and stationery.


Chinese mobile firm gives Easter treat to Kenyan orphaned children

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Dozens of orphaned children from a rescue centre in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi were on Saturday given an Easter treat by Chinese mobile firm, Transsion Holdings whose flagship brands include Tecno, Infinix and Itel.

The orphaned and abandoned children from Emmanuel’s New Hope and Rescue Center that is located in Nairobi’s low income Kayole suburb enjoyed an Easter treat that included music performance, donation of toys, motivation talk and birthday gifts.

Guo Ce, the Economic and Commercial Counselor at the Chinese Embassy in Kenya, hosted the orphaned children who have benefited from a long-term corporate social responsibility (CSR) project supported by Infinix.

The children were given a guided tour at the Economic and Commercial section of the Chinese Embassy in Kenya where they observed photographs cerebrating different aspects of China-Kenya bilateral cooperation.

It was a refreshing experience for the orphaned children to gain new understanding about China and its contribution to Kenya’s economic and industrial development.

They marveled at photographs of China-funded infrastructure projects like the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) and a major highway in northern Kenya.

The Easter treat culminated in live performances among Chinese and Kenyan children and donations of gifts.

Joseph Kagai, the administrator of Emmanuel New Hope and Rescue Center, commended Infinix and Chinese Embassy in Kenya for the Easter treat saying it was a psychological boost to children.

“Today’s event was great and a special way to celebrate Easter for the children. The children got rare exposure to different aspects of Chinese culture they had not known before,” said Kagai.

Bernice Wanjiru, a social worker at the orphanage, hailed benevolence of Chinese commercial entities that have transformed the lives of disadvantaged children in Kenya.

Children too appreciated the Easter treat and said they looked forward to support from Chinese nationals and companies operating in Kenya to enable them realize their dreams.

Perez Kagai, a nine-year-old class-three pupil relished his first visit to the economic and commercial section of Chinese embassy in Kenya where he was treated to music, captivating images and toys.

“I was also happy to see the guitar and the performance by Chinese children. My friends were happy for the birthday present and cakes,” said Perez adding that his dream career is engineering.



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