Kenya holds China alumni symposium on Belt and Road Initiative

Updated: March 25, 2024 Source: Xinhua News Agency
fontLarger fontSmaller

NAIROBI, March 24 (Xinhua) -- A China alumni symposium on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) was held in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi Sunday, with participants who included senior officials, scholars and students underscoring its positive impacts across socioeconomic spheres.

Held at the headquarters of Moja Expressway Company, the operator of the Chinese-built 27.1-km Nairobi Expressway, the symposium was organized by the Belt and Road College of Beijing Normal University, and supported by China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC). The one-day symposium sought to capture thoughts and suggestions from Kenyans who have studied in China regarding the transformative impacts of BRI, and raising its visibility locally.

Xu Jianping, director general of the Department of Regional Opening-up at the National Development and Reform Commission of China, said that projects including infrastructure, agriculture, health sector, and capacity building under BRI have unleashed benefits to Kenya and the African continent, besides deepening ties with China. The cooperation between China and Kenya has played a significant role in fostering people-to-people exchanges, promoting enterprise growth and contributing to the economies of both China and African countries, he said.

Noting that the successful cooperation under the BRI has become a model for South-South cooperation, Xu said China is willing to work with countries in Africa to gradually turn the needs of countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative into reality through the joint efforts of governments, enterprises and people from all walks of life. He reiterated China's commitment to implementing high-quality BRI cooperation as the initiative enters its second decade.

Jafeth Atito, an alumnus from Beijing Normal University currently working for Kenya's State Department of East African Affairs, said that BRI has facilitated the implementation of cross-border infrastructure projects, fostering trade in goods and services. He emphasized that building the skills of local people and facilitating knowledge and technology transfer between China and Kenya will be key to realizing the full benefits of BRI.

Benjamin Tetile, an officer with the National Police Service Commission and alumnus of Beijing Normal University, said that skills transfer that is embedded in BRI has fostered Sino-Kenyan cooperation.

Francis Munyua, also an alumnus of Beijing Normal University who undertook a thesis on the impacts of BRI projects in Kenya, said they have created jobs, opened the Kenyan hinterland, and enhanced Sino-Kenyan trade.

Henry Rotich, chairman of the Kenya-China Alumni Association, said that infrastructure projects domiciled under the BRI including ports, railways and highways have enhanced connectivity, human interactions and commerce.

"I'm happy to see big projects that are being built under BRI. One of the impacts of the BRI is shortening the distance for people, making businesses easier to do," Rotich said. He singled out the 480-km Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), a BRI project for easing the mobility of passengers and bulk cargo in Kenya and neighboring countries.

Zhao Lianzhi, deputy general manager of CRBC, observed that under BRI, Sino-Kenyan friendship and cooperation have thrived, anchored on the implementation of modern infrastructure projects and skills development for the local youth. Zhao mentioned that CRBC has since 2016 provided 100 Kenyan youth with scholarships to pursue bachelor's degrees in railway-related technologies at Beijing Jiaotong University.

As the world's largest developing country and the continent home to most developing countries, China and Africa, in the spirit of China-Africa friendship and cooperation, are joining hands to advance their respective modernization with distinctive features to build a closer high-level China-Africa community with a shared future.

At the end of the event, Hu Biliang, executive dean of the Belt and Road College, presented alumni with certificates and encouraged them to continue to use what they have learned in China to promote local development and enhance the friendship between the two countries.

Editor: Yang Linlin