Uhuru Leaves to Attend China-Africa Forum in Beijing

  • President Uhuru Kenyatta left the country on Friday night for Beijing, China where he is scheduled to attend the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Summit which runs from September 1-5.

    Uhuru was seen off at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) by Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua, Chief of Defence Forces General Samson Mwathethe and Parliament Majority Leader Aden Duale among other high-ranking government officials.

    The President is also expected to sign a Sh380 billion contract for construction of Phase 2B of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) from Naivasha to Kisumu.

    Infrastructure CS James Macharia had revealed last month that the contract would be finalized at the summit, failing to disclose details of the financier and other particulars.

    According to State House, Uhuru will hold bilateral talks with Xi on a number of key issues including trade, investment and education.

    "Besides the FOCAC Summit, President Kenyatta is expected to hold bilateral talks with his host, President Xi Jinping focused on trade, infrastructure, investments, education and technology which are common areas of interest for both Kenya and China," the statement read in part.

    The 2018 FOCAC meeting will focus on  promotion of economic cooperation between China and African nations as it seeks to harmonize China's Belt and Road Initiative, the United Nations' 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the African Union's Agenda 2063, and development strategies of individual African countries.

    The meeting with Xi comes after Uhuru met his US Counterpart Donald Trump in Washington and UK Prime Minister Theresa May in Nairobi within the past week.

    While speculation was rife that the meetings were due to Western concern over growing Chinese influence in Africa, the President sought to assuage such fears by maintaining that Kenya would engage with various nations for the good of the Kenyan people.

    He asserted that the country would follow realistic cooperation with all global partners that have  reciprocal interests and especially those that ensure the lives of Kenyans are improved.