|WITNESSING THE WONDERS OF WILDLIFE OPENS NEW AVENUES FOR TOURISM AND CONSERVATION IN EAST AFRICA|
The massive herds of wildebeest that migrate each year between the plains of the Serengeti and Masai Mara are one of the great natural wonders of the world. They are among countless wildlife phenomena that have fascinated millions through TV documentaries, and increased awareness and appreciation of all animals and their environments.
As well as the long-established variety of safaris on offer, such experiences as the wildebeest migration are being seen — in East Africa at least — as a major drawing card to boost tourism, and the causes of conservation and wildlife protection.
Africa’s amazing fauna and flora are also being highlighted to counter negative images caused by man-made disasters and events — such as the recent fire at Nairobi airport — that have seen a drop in tourist numbers.
Results of this are no more evident than in China, where conversely increasing numbers of tourists are choosing Africa for their main holidays. Again, many have been influenced by what they’ve seen on TV. [Full Story]
Samburu women look on in the Samburu game reserve in May. United Nations Environment Programme goodwill ambassador and Chinese actress Li Bingbing was on an official visit to the Samburu reserve in Kenya to highlight issues of Africa's poaching crisis.[Agencies]
United Nations Environment Programme goodwill ambassador and Chinese actress Li Bingbing is given temporary tribal markings by a member of the Samburu tribe in May.[Agencies]
Ties with China are wide-ranging: Kenyatta
President hopes to learn from Beijing on growth
The strong relationship between China and Kenya is based on a wide range of partnerships rather than mineral or natural resources, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said, adding that it could be a model for China-Africa relations.
"There has been a major accusation that China is only interested in exploiting the mineral resources of the African continent. But China and Kenya have a strong and robust relationship, and it's not based on mineral resources exploitation, but based on investment, manufacturing and infrastructure development," Kenyatta told China Daily in an exclusive interview before his first state visit outside Africa after taking office in April.
Kenyatta is scheduled to visit China from Aug 18 to 23, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said on Monday.
"There are indeed many other areas where we have seen a great deal of benefits from our relationship with China, and also there are some areas we need to strengthen, as we know China is slowly becoming one of our largest investment and development partners," Kenyatta said.
He also said China is critical to Kenya's trade and investment, and he will cement the already good ties with China during his visit.
Trade volume between the two countries reached $2.84 billion last year, up 55 percent from 2010, according to the Ministry of Commerce.
"We also want to get firsthand development experience from China, which is the source of success as the second-largest economy," Kenyatta added. [Full Story]
Comment:Turning point for Kenya
Presidential visit to create a new framework for bilateral cooperation with China
When Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta arrives in China this week, it will be the culmination of a trip that has been long in the works. Since his inauguration in April, there has been high anticipation that he would make his first major outbound bilateral trip to China in view of the circumstances under which the Jubilee coalition won a hard fought electoral campaign in March this year. In May, the grapevine both in China and Kenya was abuzz with “news” that Uhuru would travel to Beijing within days.
Uhuru’s visit is expected to generate a high level of interest in Beijing, Africa and elsewhere globally. It will also not be a surprise if the Chinese and other international media cast the visit in wider global dynamics, unlike the frequent visits by other African leaders.Think tanks and research outfits have in recent times focused on global power shifts with a tendency for African countries to embrace a look East foreign policy away from traditional donor countries of the West. Uhuru’s visit will likely be framed as a continuation of this decline of the West narrative, more so considering that Kenya has long been seen as tightly integrated into a Western worldview.
|Q+A |China, Kenya optimistic on future|
Liu Naiya, an expert on African studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
How do you assess Kenya's China policy?
The Kenyan government has been very friendly to China. The good relationship between the two countries' leadership was formed when both nations were fighting imperialism and colonialism in the 1960s.
In developing the relationship between China and Africa, what role can Kenya play?
Kenya is an important country in the East African region. A good relationship between China and Kenya can help China explore a bigger market in the region.
What about the future of the two countries' relationship?
We are very optimistic about the future of the two countries' relationship. There are many ways in which the two countries can develop future cooperation, such as in trade, infrastructure and tourism.[Read more]
Xu Weizhong, an expert on African studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations
How do you assess Kenya's China policy?
Generally speaking, the Kenyan government and the Kenyan people have a much friendlier and more positive attitude to China and Chinese companies, compared with other African countries, according to my experience in the region.
What role does China play in Kenya's development?
There are many skills that Kenya can borrow from China, such as the development of a manufacturing industry and agricultural business.
What about the future of the two countries' relationship?
Kenya is one of the more well-developed countries in Africa. Though most African countries are receiving loans from the Chinese government, Chinese companies can actually make a profit from their cooperation with Kenyan firms. That makes the country more attractive for Chinese investors.
School generosity in a class of its own
Chinese companies in Africa are becoming more involved in their host communities
At the entrance to Nairobi's second-largest slum, Mathare, you see many primary school students carrying colorful bags covered in Chinese cartoon characters such as Happy Goat, who is a favorite with children in farway China.
Unlike many products in African markets, the school bags are not secondhand but new ones donated by local Chinese companies. These companies also built the children's school, which has a special name, Mcedo Beijing School.
The name shows how Chinese companies working in the area are accepting their social responsibility to improve conditions, while also laying a good foundation for their long-term development in Kenya.
The school was founded by the Mathare Community Education and Development Organization (Mcedo), which operates in the heart of Mathare. It was founded in 2000 and registered formally in 2001. It aims to educate orphans and vulnerable children.
In 2006, a documentary on Mathare brought to light Mcedo's many challenges. The Chinese embassy and then ambassador Hang Ming responded by pledging to financially support the construction of the school. To honor this generosity, the school was named Mcedo Beijing School.
The school building was designed to accommodate 250 students in 2007. However, by the end of last year, there were more than 600 students there and the environment had become crowded and tense.
"They needed to extend the school buildings to accommodate so many more students," says Li Qiang, president of the China-Kenya Economy and Trade Association. [Full Story]
Good history lessons for future relations
SIMILAR PASTS OF KENYA AND CHINA HAVEBROUGHT NATIONS CLOSER
By Zhang Yongpeng
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta is due to visit China from Aug 18 on the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. But friendly relations have existed for much longer. Back in the early 15th century, Chinese Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) navigator Zheng He’s fleet arrived in Kenya.
Unlike Western colonial plunder and conquest in Africa, the Chinese first brought to Kenya and Africa silk and porcelain and other products, and brought back goods from Africa. It was a purely commercial and peaceful engagement.
It can be said that China and African countries like Kenya have since had similar historical experiences. Throughout the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, they experienced Western colonialism, and in the second half of the 20th century, achieved national independence.
This was reflected strongly in 1955 during the Bandung Conference, which established a relationship of trust between China and African countries.
In 1963, when they established diplomatic relations, China and Kenya began a half-century of friendship and cooperation. From 1965 to 1974, due to ideological factors affecting international politics, and domestic politics in China, the relationship encountered twists and turns, but since then, bilateral relations have been developing smoothly.[Full Story]
New leap forward for China-Kenya ties
PRESIDENT KENYATTA’S STATE VISIT WILL UNDERLINE THE STRENGTH OF AN OLD INTERNATIONAL FRIENDSHIP
By LIU Guangyuan
At the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping, Uhuru Kenyatta, president of Kenya, will pay a state visit to China during Aug 18-23. This visit, coinciding with the 50th anniversaries of the independence of Kenya and the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Kenya, will be a “journey of friendship and cooperation”.
During the visit, the leaders of China and Kenya will renew friendship, discuss cooperation and lay out blueprints for the future development of bilateral relations. The two sides will also sign a series of agreements, which will add vitality to current cooperation in various fields.
Looking back to history, we are so proud of the friendship and cooperation between China and Kenya and their two peoples. More than 600 years ago, the Chinese navigator Zheng He visited Kenya four times during his seven voyages to the western oceans. Many historic prints and beautiful legends about these visits have passed down the generations. Zheng He’s story is known to all people in both China and Kenya.
Fifty years ago, Kenya won its independence through great efforts and arduous struggles. China had offered firm support to Kenya in this regard and became one of the first countries to establish diplomatic ties with the African nation.
The world situation has gone through constant changes in the last half a century, but what has remained unchanged is the belief of both our countries in pursuing independence, peace and development, the genuine friendship between our two peoples, and the determination of both sides to jointly create a better future on an equal footing with mutual support.[Full Story]