Kenya reaps from Belt and Road Initiative amid infrastructure boom: official

Source: Xinhua| 2018-08-29 22:16:19|Editor: Shi Yinglun
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NAIROBI, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- The China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative has been a boon to Kenyan economy with the development of modern infrastructure like the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), a senior official told Xinhua in an interview.

Raphael Tuju, secretary general of Kenya's ruling Jubilee Party and cabinet secretary without portfolio, said the SGR that is a critical component of the Belt and Road Initiative has helped strengthen cooperation with China while boosting connectivity, trade and industrialization.

"The SGR and the Belt and Road Initiative are very important in the relationship between China and Africa, and indeed between China and Kenya," Tuju said.

"It is key in the sense that it opened the hinterland for trade, for ease of doing business and I think if there is anything that underlines and brings out the cooperation between China and Kenya, it is the SGR," he added.

Tuju will accompany President Uhuru Kenyatta during a visit to China to attend the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit slated for Sept. 3-4.

He said Kenya is committed to implementing ambitious infrastructure projects anchored on the initiative to hasten industrial progress and realize shared prosperity.

"The Belt and Road Initiative is an important backbone for any development and I hope this kind of consultation like FOCAC is a platform through which we can review what is happening and also we can refocus our energies in growing this relationship and building this infrastructure," Tuju remarked.

The Belt and Road Initiative, proposed by China in 2013, envisions a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa.

China-funded infrastructure projects in Africa, including the railway connecting Ethiopia and Djibouti, the Mombasa-Nairobi SGR in Kenya and Maputo Cross-sea Bridge in Mozambique, have exemplified the tangible benefits brought by cooperation under the initiative.

Tuju noted that Kenya is well positioned to advance the industrial agenda and become a regional trading hub with the operation of the 480-km Mombasa-Nairobi railway.

"Business can only happen when there is infrastructure like a road or railway line to move goods and services from one place to another," said Tuju, adding that Kenya is ready to borrow lessons from China to realize an industrial miracle through investments in infrastructure, energy and human capital.