The New Era of China Shedding--a New Light on China-Kenya Relations
The Communist Party of China (CPC) is the founding and ruling party of the People's Republic of China (PRC). With more than 89 million party members, the CPC is the largest political party in the world, governing the country of over 1.3 billion people. The National Congress of the CPC convenes every five years, which is always an event of great importance attracting worldwide attention. The 19th National Congress of the CPC was held from October 18th to 24th, 2017 in Beijing. President Xi Jinping was re-elected General Secretary of the Central Committee of the CPC. The congress expounded on the historic mission of the CPC in the new era, set up the goal of securing a decisive victory in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, and launched the new task of developing China into a modernized socialist country. It laid out a comprehensive plan to promote the causes of socialism with Chinese characteristics and the Party building, besides indicating the way forward for the Party and the whole country.
With decades of hard work, socialism with Chinese characteristics has crossed the threshold into a new era which is a new historic juncture in China’s development. Now China has maintained its position as the world’s second largest economy with its gross domestic product rising to USD 12 trillion and contributed more than 30 percent of global economic growth. China now leads the world in trade, outbound investment and foreign exchange reserves. Besides top rankings in more than 220 categories of manufacturing and agricultural products, emerging industries like the digital economy are thriving. China owns the world’s longest high speed railways and super-highways, and the largest cargo-handling capacity of seaports. The urbanization rate is reaching 60% and the impoverishment rate is decreasing lower than 4%. Over 13 million urban job opportunities have been created each year. A social welfare system covering all residents has taken shape. Smooth progress has been made in ecological conservation. In the meantime, China is moving closer to the center of the world stage, shouldering mounting responsibility in the UN and other international affairs and making greater contribution to world peace and development. As universally acknowledged, all these achievements could never be made without the strong leadership of the CPC, and the hard work of all Party members and the Chinese people pulling together in their pursuit. In the past years, the Party’s solidarity and unity have been significantly strengthened. With this, efforts to develop the cause of the Party and the country have gained a strong political underpinning. Looking ahead, the Party bears the historic mission and remains always a powerful leadership to unite the Chinese people to achieve new goals in the new era.
As China entering the new era, the principal contradiction now facing Chinese society is the contradiction between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people’s ever-growing needs for a better life. Based on this strategic judgment and comprehensive analysis of the international and domestic conditions, the CPC has drawn up a three-stage roadmap for achieving the Two Centenary Goals. During the period from now to 2020, the centenary of the CPC, China will complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects, with per capita GDP of USD 10,000. From 2020 to 2035, we will see that socialist modernization is basically realized with per capita GDP of USD 30,000. From 2035 to the middle of the 21st century, by the centenary of the PRC, we will develop China into a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious and beautiful.
The new era means new opportunities to the world as China’s development is interconnected even closer with other countries. China aims to foster a new type of international relations and build a community with a shared future for mankind. China follows the principle of achieving shared growth through discussion and collaboration in engaging in global governance. China will continue its efforts to make economic globalization more open, inclusive and balanced so that its benefits are shared by all. In the coming five years, China will import USD 8 trillion of goods, attract USD 600 billion of foreign investment and make USD 750 billion of outbound investment. 700 million Chinese are expected to travel abroad. China’s further reform and opening-up is bringing more and better opportunities to the whole world. Meanwhile, the governance and development experience of China offers a new option for other countries who want to speed up their development. China is blazing a new trail for the developing countries to achieve modernization by offering Chinese wisdom and Chinese approach.
In the coming years, China will strengthen its efforts to promote international cooperation through the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). In doing so, we hope to achieve policy, infrastructure, trade, financial and people-to-people connectivity and thus build a broad platform for international cooperation to create new driving force of shared development. The first Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation was successfully held in Beijing in May of 2017. In the Forum, a five-category list of deliverables, including 76 agreements and 270 tangible outcomes, has been achieved. By coordinating the BRI with African Union Agenda 2063 and national development strategy of Kenya Vision 2030, China is working together with Kenyan friends to embrace a new era of win-win cooperation and common development, with the principles of sincerity, practical results, affinity and good faith, upholding the values of friendship, justice and shared interests. Being the only President from Africa, President Uhuru Kenyatta attended the Forum. During the visit, President Xi Jinping and President Kenyatta reached broad consensus on strengthening the bilateral cooperation in various fields and agreed to upgrade China-Kenya relations to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership which has pointed out an advancing direction for the future of our bilateral relations.
In June of this year, as one of the early tangible outcomes of the BRI, the Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) was successfully launched. The special envoy of President Xi Jinping, Chinese State Councilor Wang Yong and President Kenyatta attended the launching ceremony. From the very beginning, the SGR has been endowed with a significant role in facilitating the development of Kenya and the region. We are proud that the SGR has become a milestone for China-Kenya friendly cooperation. With the full support of the Chinese and Kenyan Governments, both sides’ management team, engineers, technicians and workers made joint and concerted efforts and successfully completed the largest infrastructure project in Kenyan history within just two and half years. The operation of the SGR is another success which impressed the people of not just Kenya and China but also the rest of the world. A few days ago, Cabinet Secretary Macharia and I launched the inter-county passenger trains. For five months, the SGR has been operated safely and stably with passenger volume over 420,000. It also delivered over 131,500 tons of bulk grain to help Kenyan brothers and sisters fight the severe draught. The regular cargo service will be ready in the near future. The operation team of 1,300 Kenyans and 600 Chinese has demonstrated their professionalism and the sense of social responsibility. The story of Lady Engine Drivers is on the Discovery Channel’s documentary. The SGR service continues to be improved and expanded to meet the increasing need of the market and the people.
In response to the BRI, more and more Chinese enterprises have taken deep roots in Kenyan soil by working hand-in-hand with their local counterparts in undertaking China-Kenya cooperative projects. China Wu Yi invested USD 100 million to build Kenya Construction Industrialization Base. From next year, the Base will have annual capacity of producing 50,000 cubic meters of precast components to meet the ever-increasing demand of new buildings for Kenyan people. The Twyford Ceramics Company in Kajiado County is invested by a Chinese private enterprise. Within just one year, it has become the largest building ceramic factory in Eastern Africa. Now it produces 30,000 square meters of floor tiles every day. The second production line will be put into operation next January, which doubles its daily capacity. The company has localized its raw material supply and now hired 1,500 local employees.
The stories of the SGR, Wu Yi and Twyford are examples that China and Kenya are each other’s good friends, good brothers and good partners. Over the years, China-Kenya relations have kept achieving significant outcomes which greatly invigorated our traditional friendship. China continues to be Kenya’s largest trading partner, construction project contractor and source of investment. The bilateral trade volume reached USD 5.7 billion in 2016 and China’s investment in Kenya still keeps growing. Bilateral cooperation has also been significantly deepened in the fields of military, jurisdiction, agriculture, energy, health, science and technology and people-to-people exchanges. Moreover, China and Kenya have closely coordinated in the areas of anti-terrorism, peace keeping and climate change. Both countries have worked together to address hot spot issues so as to maintain the peace and stability of the Eastern African region.
With the 19th CPC National Congress ushering in a new era for rejuvinization of China, Kenya is also at a crucial stage to keep itself on the fast track of development and modernization. The new era of China provides new opportunities for China-Kenya cooperation, which will not only facilitate Kenya to maintain its position as Eastern African hub of transport, trade, finance, tourism and manufacture but also strongly support Kenya’s pursuit of realizing industrialization and agricultural modernization. Looking forward, I firmly believe that China and Kenya will work more closely to push forward the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership to a new height and that our long-lasting friendship will continue to benefit two peoples.