ChinaIn reverse order. Early this morning, President Kenyatta and First Lady Margaret Kenyatta returned from a visit to South Africa. The President attended the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, known as focac, while the First Lady attended an event on pushing back AIDS. For starters, President Xi Jinping of China offered the continent $60 billion — that’s 6 trillion shillings — in grants, zero-interest loans, concessional financing and commercial loans to finance Africa’s growth over the next 3 years. That’s triple what China offered at the last focac 3 years ago. President Kenyatta held a highly successful bilateral meeting with President Xi Jinping, and reviewed areas of Kenya-China cooperation and financing. Let me zero in on a number of them.
Standard Gauge Railway:Phase 1 of this project is the Mombasa–Nairobi line. We expect the line to be complete by June 2017. As of 1st December 2015, the civil works are more than 60% complete. The procurement of locomotives, passenger coaches and freight wagons is at an advanced stage; and construction of passenger stations and other facilities has commenced across the entire corridor. We are on course, and the President is pleased with progress so far. However, the President is concerned that the construction company has not met its local content obligations, and he made it clear that they must work to the target of 40 per cent. Kenya Railways and China Communications Construction Company Ltd (cccc) signed a MoU on 14th November 2014 for a joint feasibility study, and for preliminary designs for phase 2 of the sgr, which covers the 489 km Nairobi–Malaba line. That phase starts with the extension of the sgr from Nairobi to Naivasha, where China will finance the building of an industrial park. On the margins of focac, Kenya and China signed a financing package for the extension: China Eximbank will provide a $1.5 billion loan, 85% of the financing, while Kenya will provide the balance. The expansion and modernisation of the Inland Container Depot (icd) in Embakasi, Nairobi is expected to be negotiated and funded separately under the programme. The National Treasury and China Exim Bank will soon finalise compliance, before disbursement and the start of construction. The Standard Gauge Railway remains the single largest investment in Kenya’s economy in the last five decades, and proof of this government’s transformative ambition. Kenya and China are working to catalyse social and economic activity along the catchment of the sgr route; the Mombasa Special Economic Zone and the Naivasha Industrial Park are key initiatives here. In providing our youth with real and viable opportunities to realise their potential, we expand our arsenal in the war against youth radicalisation. These interventions are part of the Jubilee administration’s transformation agenda; we call upon all Kenyans to seize the opportunities they interventions will open. Some Points to Note: $1.5 billion secured for Nairobi-Naivasha: China will invest in the construction of an industrial park in Naivasha, using steam power for the manufacture of well-priced commodities. Some 25,000 Kenyan engineers and workers will be hired on the project; while 15,000 local skilled workers and 400 engineers are being mentored.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Conference Facility:The government of China has offered 300 million Renminbi (KES 4.5 billion) for a conference facility in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Kenya has a shortage of international-standard conference facilities. This generous offer helps us meet that need.
Education:Kenya and China understand the importance of education, training and capacity-building for sustainable development. That’s why President Xi Jinping assured President Kenyatta of a grant of 1,000 new university scholarships for Kenyans who wish to study in China. Progress was also reported on the China-Kenya joint laboratory for crop molecular biology at Egerton University. It is central to the new agriculture initiatives China and Africa are considering.
Energy:Electricity, I need hardly tell you, is vital for industrialisation and economic growth. I am pleased to report that we have concluded or are about to conclude MoUs and agreements on a number of projects that will help us bring electricity to a majority of Kenyans households. These are:
- An MoU with the China National Machinery Import Export Corporation for the 108 kilometre Nyahururu (Rumuruti)–Maralal 132 kV transmission line and sub-stations,
- An MoU with sefco group for the Lamu–Lokichogio 220 kV double circuit transmission line and sub-stations for lapsset,
- An MoU with Shangdong Taikai Power Engineering for the Turkwel–Lodwar and Rangala–Busia 132 kV double circuit and sub-stations.
- An MoU with China National Complete Plant Import and Export Corporation (complant) for construction of the Meru–Maua and Ishiara—Chogoria 132 kV single circuit line with sub-stations,
- A commercial contract with camce for the 247 km Garissa-Bura-Hola-Garsen 220 kV line and sub-stations,
- An MoU with Machinery and Engineering Corp (cmec) for construction of Menengai–Rongai, Silali–Rongai and Isinya–Nairobi East 400 kV double circuit line and sub-stations,
- An MoU with Poly Technologies for under-grounding and insulation of overhead network in Mombasa and Kisumu, including automation in Kisumu,
- A commercial contract has been executed with sefco group for an underground distribution network in Nairobi (in Kilimani, Hurlingham, Ngong Road, State House and Lavington).
- An MoU has been concluded with China National Electric Wire & Cable Import/ Export Corporation for 41 new distribution substations in Western Region.
- An MoU with Taikai for underground cable lines in Thika, and Nakuru business districts, a switching station in Parklands, a 66kV Ruaraka–Parklands cable and a 132 kV Bamburi–Mtwapa line and associated substations.
- A commercial contract is being finalised for supply, installation and commissioning of an underground power–cable network in Industrial Area and Upper Hill in Nairobi.
- A commercial contract will soon be finalised between kplc and nari group for the design and construction of an underground electric power distribution network in Kileleshwa, Westlands, Parklands, Ngara, Riverside and surrounding areas.
- An MoU was concluded with Beijing Electric Power for an underground power-cable network in Dagoretti, Karen and Langata.