On Thursday, the Chinese Embassy in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, held a tour for experts, politicians, university scholars and the media on two key initiatives that the country has undertaken.
Specifically, the guests toured the Standard Gauge Railway station, and the AVIC Technical and Vocational Training Program based at the Kenya Technical Trainers College – which both feature in Nairobi.
China’s presence in Kenya has increased significantly. Although China established itself as a development partner about two decades ago, its impact across Kenya’s social and economic sectors has been far reaching.
The Embassy visit took place in the lead up to the forthcoming China International Import Expo (CIIE), which will be held in Shanghai from Nov 5 to 10.
Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta will lead a top Kenyan delegation to this event, and is expected to sign a couple of crucial trade deals with China, including agreements on fresh produce and trade tariffs.
According to public policy analyst Stephen Ndegwa the Nairobi tour serves as an eye-opener, and a rare privilege to understand the inner sanctums of Chinese influence, not just in Kenya, but in Africa as a whole.
Ndegwa says there is need for Kenya to take better advantage of opportunities such as CIIE to deepen its trade relations with China and get a new export market.
“Kenya’s private sector must be more aggressive in tapping not just into the Chinese market, but other lucrative markets globally. The country must leverage her pole geopolitical pole position in the region to create more demand for goods and services,” Ndegwa said.