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Guangdong enhances trade ties with Kenya

Updated: 2016-09-03 17:48
By Philip Etyang in Nairobi (chinadaily.com.cn)

Guangdong enhances trade ties with Kenya

Officials from the Guangdong Provincial Government hold a news conference on the second Investing in Africa on Aug 29. [Photo/southcn.com]

Guangdong province, which is famed for its status as a symbol of China's opening up and reform policy, recently bolstered its already deep economic, trade and people-to-people cooperation with Kenya and two other African countries.

A delegation of over more than 130 outstanding Chinese enterprises, led by the Governor of the people's Government of Guangdong Province Zhu Xiaodan, visited South Africa, Ethiopia and finally wound up their tour of Africa in Nairobi, Kenya at the beginning of September.

The excursion culminated in the signing of eight cooperation agreements on investment and trade projects between Chinese and Kenyan enterprises at a conference titled China (Guangdong)-Kenya Economic and Trade Conference. The enterprises were from the areas of electronic information, household appliances, logistics, textile, building materials and agriculture.

The event was co-organized by the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce, the Kenya Investment Authority and the People's Government of Guangdong.

Several dignitaries among them Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Liu Xianfa and Kenya's Cabinet secretary for East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism Phyllis Kandie attended the event. Cabinet Secretary for Education Fred Matiangi and Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee in the Senate and Kisumu Senator Prof Anyang Nyongo were also in attendance.

Speaking at the event, Ambassador Liu said the China (Guangdong)-Kenya Economic and Trade Conference was the largest of its kind to be held in the East African region.

"I wish to thank the Kenyan government and the state institutions for its immeasurable support in ensuring that the economic and trade cooperation between Guangdong and Kenya grows," he said.

Liu also said that Guangdong has been the single most important province from China that has helped the Kenyan economy grow in leaps and bounds.

While showcasing how important Guangdong province is to China, Liu said that if the contribution of the province was not factored in the national economy of the country, the country's economy would not be placed second in the world after USA but 15th in the world.

On her part, Kenya's Cabinet secretary for East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism Phyllis Kandie said because of Guangdong's contribution, Kenya was now a strong economic power house in the region and it attracts a lot of Foreign Direct Investment because of its rich infrastructure, location and status of being a gateway to the East African region.

"The Kenyan government is committed to spearhead the industrialization agenda with China as its partner. The government has done a lot to facilitate industrialization through enactment of the Special Economic Zones Act 2015, the Companies Act 2015 and the Insolvency Act 2015," she said.

She encouraged the Chinese enterprises at the event to invest in Kenya's Vision 2030 ambitious Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) corridor project. The project will link a new port in Lamu at the Kenyan coast with rail, road and an oil pipeline to neighboring South Sudan and Ethiopia.

"Kenya has recently discovered oil deposits and will start exporting oil as from 2017. I therefore wish to encourage Chinese enterprises to join hands with their Kenyan counterparts through public and private partnerships and also invest in this sector," she said.

Kandie told delegates at the conference that China should increase its imports to Kenya because the country was strategically located in a huge market of over more than 42 million Kenyans, 140 million East Africans and 400 million people in the COMESA region.

Governor of the people's Government of Guangdong Province Zhu Xiaodan said the aim of the conference was to strengthen the friendly communication between China and Kenya, deepen trade and investment cooperation as well as implement consensus reached by President Xi Jinping and President Uhuru Kenyatta.

After over 30 years of the reform and opening up policy, Guangdong Province has made great progress in economic and social development. Last year, Guangdong's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) reached USD 1.17 trillion up by 8 percent and accounting for 1/9 of the entire country and ranking first in China

Economic and trade cooperation between Guangdong and Kenya started in 2005 when Kenya Airways, the national carrier started flying direct flights between Nairobi and Guangzhou. Last year, China Southern Airlines a member of the Sky Team also began direct flights between the two cities, making it the first China civil airline to fly the route. Between 2010 and 2015, trade volume between Guangdong and Kenya grew from USD380 million to USD 1.81 billion. This has accounted for 30.1 percent of the total imports and exports between China and Kenya.

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