Kenya reaps real BRI dividends

By EDITH MUTETHYA in Nairobi, Kenya | China Daily | Updated: 2023-05-26 09:56
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A Chinese tourist poses for a photo with a Maasai performer at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi on Feb 11. HAN XU/XINHUA

Major feature

"Today, the expressway is a major feature in Nairobi city and has benefited both the rich and the poor through reduced travel time and by reducing congestion in various streets of the city," Ikiara said.

According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, the SGR transported 2.39 million people in 2022, doubling year-on-year.

Kenya is among the countries with the highest internet penetration rate, thanks to investments in partnership with Huawei, a multinational Chinese ICT provider, which have helped the country modernize its telecommunication capabilities, Cavince Adhere said.

"Young people now have opportunities to work online. Additionally, Huawei is helping many governors to modernize ICT and telecommunication in counties," he said.

Last year, Huawei signed an agreement with the Kenyan government to roll out 43,000 kilometers of communication cables across the country to bridge the digital connectivity divide.

In the financial field, Adhere said the payment system under the instant-messaging app WeChat, operated by tech giant Tencent, has developed a regional footprint by partnering with Equity Bank, giving customers another option to settle payments.

Recently, Service On New Grounds, a Chinese company focusing on regulatory affairs, accounting, finance, tax and advisory services, listed Kenya among 69 countries that accept WeChat cross-border payments.

Adhere said the WeChat cross-border payments will be critical in terms of promoting e-commerce, terming it as an opportunity for more trade between China and Kenya.

The BRI has also seen China become the leading destination for young Kenyans furthering their education overseas, thus promoting people-to-people exchanges, he said.

Adhere said Kenya, as well as other African countries, can ride on the BRI to address any trade deficit with China by taking advantage of the existing waterways, highways and railways to serve its international markets.

Agro-based trade also offers many opportunities through China's green lane move, which is aimed at increasing the uptake of more African products into the Chinese market, he said.

"In this venture, we saw Kenya becoming the first African country to export fresh avocados to the Chinese market last year. This has given a lot of hope for avocado farmers across the country as well as Chinese consumers," he said.

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