Kenya and China celebrated the 40th anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic relations in Nairobi Wednesday with both sides calling for stronger friendly ties.
"Chinese financial, technical and other assistance continues to play a crucial role in our development," Kenyan Foreign Minister Kalonzo Musyoka said, adding that "China has merged as one of Kenya's leading development partners with Chinese assistance covering a wide-range of areas."
Kenya and China established diplomatic relations on Dec. 14, 1963, with China opening an embassy in Nairobi, becoming the fourth country to do so.
"We shall continue to promote a more dynamic cooperation in such areas as capacity building, information technology, energy, water resources, telecommunications, culture and other areas of human endeavor," the minister told the guests attending the reception in honor of the 40-year diplomatic ties.
Although the exports from Kenya to China have not kept pace with the imports from China, Kalonzo said, he is still willing to promote trade on both sides.
According to the Chinese statistics, Sino-Kenyan trade volume reached US$186 million, a robust increase of 29 percent from that of 2001.
The Kenyan foreign minister also vowed to continue to provide all the support possible to facilitate more Chinese investment.
According to Kenyan investment promotion center, Chinese investment project in Kenya currently number about 96 with a workforce of about 6,700 Kenyans and an investment capital of over4 billion Kenyan shillings (US$52.6 million).
Guo Chongli, Chinese ambassador to Kenya, said on the same occasion that "the peaceful power transition after election and many positive policies of Kenya are strengthening the confidence of various investors."
"More and more Chinese investors are coming in the near future," the ambassador confirmed.
"We are now faced with the same challenge of dealing with problems related to rural development, unemployment and poverty," he said, stressing that the establishment of stronger friendly ties and closer cooperation between China and Kenya serves the mutual interests.
Kenya is a gateway to East Africa and a key focus of China's trade and economic cooperation with the African continent. The war-free country with stable political situation made Kenya an ideal regional base for Chinese investors to expand their business in Africa.
The two governments signed the agreement on trade in 1978 and the agreement on promotion and protection of investments in 2001.
For the celebration, a series of festive commemorative activities have started in full swing in Nairobi, including "Beautiful China" photo exhibition, China-Kenya Fair for Trade and Economic Cooperation held at a newly-launched China Trade Center, an acrobatic performance and the issue of a first-day cover and a set of two commemorative stamps.
(Xinhua News Agency December 11, 2003)