In Summary
  • The President and his entourage were among 28 leaders including Russian President Vladmir Putin, Phillipine's Rodrigo Duterte, Turkey's Reccep Tayyip Erdogan, Indonesia's Joko Widodo and Ethiopian Prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn.
  • Africa's only other dignitary, Premier Desalegn, who spoke on Day One said China has proven to be a genuine partner to help Africa fight poverty.
  • The Belt and Road Initiative has a kitty of about $40 billion mostly managed by the China Exim Bank.
  • Nairobi says it is asking for more of those to finance a transport system in Nairobi and hopefully reduce congestion by dualling the bypasses around the city.

In Beijing, China

President Uhuru Kenyatta joined more than two dozen other world leaders for a trade connectedness conference in Beijing on Sunday, as the Chinese vowed to use the forum to create "one big family" of trading nations.

The President and his entourage were among 28 leaders including Russian President Vladmir Putin, Phillipine's Rodrigo Duterte, Turkey's Reccep Tayyip Erdogan, Indonesia's Joko Widodo and Ethiopian Prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn.

Each of them are there for different interests. For Kenya, the need to build more roads and extend the new railway line influenced President Kenyatta to attend — he had admitted in an earlier press conference.

At the start of the Belt and Road Forum, President Xi Jingping of China pledged an additional $14.5 billion (Sh1.47 trillion) to fund facilities meant to expand trade links with other countries, Sh850 billion of this money targets developing countries like Kenya.

"We intend to create one big family based on harmonious co-existence," he told participants seated in a hall in the humongous China National Convention Centre in Beijing.

SPREAD INFLUENCE

First launched in 2013 by the Chinese to create what they called an open economic system based on balanced trade, the Belt and Road initiative tracks down the ancient silk-road route used by the Chinese to spread influence globally.

Today, Beijing wants to track the route used during the Tsenge Po in the 14th century that saw its explorers reach the shores of Kenya in Lamu, but with different means and reasons.

The Initiative generally targets 60 countries mainly in Asia and Europe, with few in Africa such as Kenya, Egypt and Tanzania.

But the 28 were invited, basically, because they are the focal point of the Initiative.

In Kenya, the Chinese have been building the Standard Gauge Railway line, roads and are eyeing the Lamu Port and its attendant service roads.

PRESIDENT’S ADMIRATION

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