The research team of the Belt and Road International Infrastructure Cooperation Project visits Nairobi, Kenya for researching cooperation for infrastructure between China and Kenya under the Belt and Road initiative from March 30 to April 1. This project is organized by China Development Research Foundation and co-organized by China International Contractors Association. Caterpillar, Inc is the sponsor of this project. Fang Jin, the Deputy Secretary-General of China Development Research Foundation, is named head of the team.
During the three-day research visit, delegates visits the authorized construction equipment dealer in Kenya, Mantrac Kenya Ltd., Economic and Commercial Counsellor’s Office of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the Republic of Kenya and Chinese firms based in Kenya, the Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway project, and the local office of China Road and Bridge Corporation.
Kenya has become an important foothold of the Belt and Road initiative. It is politically stable and has a solid economic foundation. A top economy in Eastern Africa, Kenya’s Gross Domestic Product in 2016 was 73 billion dollars while the GDP per capita was over 1500 dollars. Kenyan government has put forward Kenya Vision 2030 blueprint that aims to push industrialization and economic reforms; it focuses on developing infrastructure, information technology, agriculture and energy industries. This policy has strong economic complementarity with China. In recent years Chinese government has rapidly increased investment in Kenya. China and Kenya has a bright future of facilitating cooperation in infrastructure and energy.
During the meeting with Chinese firms based in Kenya, the delegates introduce the development history of their companies, lessons learned from past failures and prospects in the infrastructure and energy field. Also giving suggestions about the challenges facing investing in Kenya on public safety risk, financial risk, investment safety, etc. and how to face these challenges from national and enterprise-level. Wang He, the vice president of the China International Contractors Association holds the meeting. Guo Ce, the commercial counsellor of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the Republic of Kenya delivers a speech in the meeting. Fang Jin, the Deputy Secretary-General of China Development Research Foundation, delivers both a welcome and a conclusion speech in the meeting. The delegates include the local managers from China Wu Yi Corporation Ltd., China Road and Bridge Corporation, China Power International Development, China State Construction Engineering Corporation Ltd., Zhongmei Engineering Group Ltd., China Henan International Cooperation Group Company Ltd., AVIC International Holdings Ltd., China Gezhouba Group Company, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation Ltd., China State Construction Engineering Corporation Ltd.
The Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway is the first overseas standard gauge railway built to Chinese standard. China Road and Bridge Corporation is the prime contractor of the project. President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang along with other five presidents of East Africa countries witnessed the signing of the agreement on the cooperation of the Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway project on May 11, 2014. The 480km-long railway costs 3.804 billon dollars making it the biggest infrastructure project in Kenya since independence. The project has employed 30000 locals during the construction of the railway which accounts for more than 90% of all the construction workers of the project. Eco-tourism is major component of the economy of Kenya and Kenyan government has strict requirements on environmental protection. Based on animal migration tracking data provided by Kenya Wildlife Service, 14 passages, 600 culverts and 61 bridges are built during the construction of the railway for animal migration. This project is on schedule so far; reached construction targets, meeting expected progress and guaranteed quality; set a benchmark for multileveled cooperation between the two nations, companies, and societies. This new line is expected to begin operation in June 2017. The research team highly appreciates the great efforts all of participants of this project made; congratulated the project teams on the progress made; and exchanged with directors of the project about the experiences on project design, public works, construction safety management systems, localization, corporate social responsibility, operational maintenance, corporate culture, camp construction, etc.
The research team ends visit to Kenya on the afternoon of April 1, and continues to the next stop, United Arab Emirates.
About CDRFThe China Development Research Foundation (CDRF) is a public foundation initiated by the Development Research Center of the State Council (DRC). Its mission is to advance good governance and public policy to promote economic development and social progress.