Deputy President William Ruto and Mr. Wan Exiang, Special envoy of Chinese President launch a commemorative stamp on 50th anniversary of establishment of Kenya - China Diplomatic Relations
H.E. Wan Exiang, Special Envoy of H.E. President Xi Jinping and Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China,
H.E. Liu Guangyuan, China’s Ambassador to Kenya,
Your Excellency Sahle-Work Zewde, Director General United Nations Office Nairobi
Your Excellency Achim Steiner, Executive Director UNEP
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is noteworthy that China engaged Kenya diplomatically literally hours within our independence 50 years ago. But it is even more significant that the now 50 year-old relationship has been assuredly consistent and predictable.
Further, it is gratifying to note that China-Kenya ties have expanded and deepened over the years and in the process brought the two Governments and peoples ever closer by the passing day.
That China has been a true friend and a friend indeed to Kenya is not in doubt whatsoever. Neither have the fruits of this steady and apparent bond been hidden at all.
Yesterday, Kenyans commemorated our Golden Jubilee with much fanfare and a sense of profound fulfillment. The fulfillment Kenyans celebrated was not without solid reference.
The edifices of our development over the years are, without a doubt, well known to the people of Kenya. In recent days, the most abiding, most visible and most stoic of such developments have had the Chinese signature etched on them. Such include roads and a host of other physical infrastructure erected by and through the support of China and her people.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Beyond the culinary delights from China many Kenyans have developed a taste for over the years and beyond the built infrastructure we all associated with China is a whole frontier of cultural engagement that China has developed in our country. Educational exchange is at the very core of this subtle but nonetheless more potent engagement.
Notably, the government of China sponsors an impressive 200 young Kenyans for further and specialised studies to various institutions of higher learning across China.
The Confucius Institutes established at the University of Nairobi and at Kenyatta University make a good starting point for the kind of engagement China and Kenya need to grow their relations.
I am particularly grateful that the Government of China has recently established a third Confucius Institute at Egerton University to further build the capacity for this ongoing engagement. These and similar ventures herald a great future in China-Kenya relations.
This is especially so because when people engage each other they find their level and define a regime of partnership whose multiplicative effects are as boundless as they are rewarding.
I am also pleased that recently, the Chinese Embassy in Kenya established the Chinese Ambassador Scholarship Award Scheme to help needy students at the University of Nairobi. As we move forward, I kindly request that you extend this programme to other public universities across Kenya.
It is also gratifying to note that the flow of tourists from China to Kenya is improving day by day. I urge your Government to encourage tourists intent on visiting Kenya to take advantage of our friendly relations to come in their numbers.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today we celebrate the milestones of the diplomatic relations between Kenya and China for five decades. Allow me to suggest that as we start another 50 year journey the relationship between China and Kenya should aspire to move several levels higher in the following two key areas.
One, sharing of ideas for the improvement of the livelihoods of our people. China has conquered many odds to climb to the peak of success and global prominence. Most of the steps taken by China to get to the top have been accomplished in just about 30 years.
This is a result of the great handiwork of leaders who refused to be herded to strange destinies by external forces and influence. Kenya aspires to move her people forward through several initiatives contained in the Vision 2030, the Jubilee Manifesto and also in a raft of policies and programmes of the current administration. The development model China followed to her prominence makes a lot more sense in our immediate circumstances than other models based on remote realities.
Two, we need to exchange ideas on how culture can influence work ethics and a national mindset amenable to industrialization. With the discovery of minerals and other natural resources in Kenya in recent years, our country is ready for an industrial revolution.
Our people were socialised to consume goods made by others but this world-view cannot entrench an industrial culture. Therefore we need to study and internalise how to make our resources transcend into the industrial sensibility that can expand our economic options. In this regard China will be a worthy teacher and partner.
In conclusion, ladies and gentlemen, I look forward an even greater future of the relations between China and Kenya.
Long live Kenya-China friendship!
Thank you all.