Trade and economic relations between Kenya and China, which have been developing at a rapid speed, are expected to get a further boost with Chinese President Hu Jintao's coming first state visit to the East African country late this week.
The bilateral trade between the two countries has increased fast during the past few years, according to Guo Chongli, Chinese ambassador to Kenya.
The total value amounted to US$475 million in 2005, nearly 30 percent up from 2004, said Guo recently at the launching of a Chinese auto assembly company in Nairobi.
In 2005, China's exports to Kenya totaled US$457 million, 31 percent more than the previous year and imports from Kenya rose 4 percent to US$17.6 million.
The popular Chinese export products include machinery, textiles, agricultural tools and consumable goods while the main imports from Kenya include fruits, scrap copper, cotton, hide and skin, coffee and tea.
Guo said that the coming visit of Chinese president, which will be the final leg of his five-nation tour, will push the two countries' relations, especially in economic field, to a new height.
The two countries signed several agreements aiming at opening anew chapter of strategic trade and investments relations during Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki's visit to China last August. The total value of project contracts between the two countries reached US$780 million till the end of last year.
Kenya Airways has been granted landing rights in several cities in China with the signing of the Air Services Agreement between the two countries, which also agreed to cooperate in areas of information and telecommunications.
Kenya Airways is operating direct flights to Hong Kong and Guangzhou in southern China from Nairobi.
Since Kenya was granted the Preferred Tourist Destination Status in 2004, arrivals from China have more than doubled and are expected to grow further.
Thanks to Kenyan government's policy of attracting investment to Kenya and the Chinese government's strategy of "going out," many Chinese companies, particularly in private sectors, keep on exploring business opportunities in Kenya in recent years, making profits as well as benefiting the Kenyan people and society.
The Chinese ambassador urged Kenyan companies to "look east" as China has a huge market and Kenyan enterprises can sell their traditional products such as flowers, coffee, tea and handicrafts there.
(Xinhua News Agency April 25, 2006)