The Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Moses Cheboi, on Tuesday this week led a delegation from the National Assembly in a Virtual Conference between the National Assembly of Kenya and the National People’s Congress (NPC) of the People’s Republic of China.
The delegation from China was led by H.E. Hon. Wang Chen, the Vice Chairperson of the Standing Committee of the NPC.
This Kenya-China Inter-Parliamentary Exchange Mechanism which was the second such engagement In the last one year, explored a number of areas of collaboration including how the two countries can partner on the fight against Covid-19 and in the formulation of economic recovery strategies post-pandemic while addressing the huge trade imbalance between the two countries.
The legislators also deliberated ways of enhancing Kenya-China relations under the framework of Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC); a multilateral cooperation between China and African Countries and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
Addressing the Opening Session of the forum, Hon. Cheboi expressed his appreciation for the prevailing strong and sustained parliamentary relations between the two legislatures. He emphasized that the diplomatic relation between Kenya and China dated back to December 14th 1963 when the People’s Republic of China opened their embassy in Nairobi. He noted that the People of Kenya and People’s Republic of China have enjoyed a profound friendship to date.
He stated that the inter-parliamentary exchanges between the National Assembly of Kenya and the National People’s Congress of China provide a great opportunity to share on legislative and policy areas that the two legislatures can improve on to accelerate socio and economic development to the benefits of our citizens and further enhance the friendly and cooperative relations between the two countries.
The Deputy Speaker recognized that as a result of the deepening relations, China has continued to support Kenya’s national development agenda through extensive infrastructure development that has raised the stature of Kenya as a regional transport and communication hub. The Nairobi Express Way is one of the key projects that will not only ease traffic congestion but improve trade and development.
He further expressed gratitude on behalf of the government of Kenya for the support extended by the People’s Republic of China in the form of protective equipment and debt restructuring. He stated that to accelerate recovery, the Government retained some stimulus measures on employees in lower cadres and the vulnerable population which includes the elderly and people living with disabilities.
In order to enhance inter-parliamentary relations, the Hon. Cheboi proposed formulation of a program by the Kenya-China Parliamentary Friendship Group where parliamentary officials will have an opportunity to discuss and exchange views on; procedural, administrative and research services between our two legislative bodies
On his part, Vice Chairperson of NPC, H.E. Hon. Wang Chen reaffirmed the commitment of his Government in maintaining the strong and unbreakable China- Kenya friendship both at the Executive level as well as between the two Legislatures.
He expressed gratitude on behalf of the Chinese Government of the support Kenya offered the citizens of China when China was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.
In order to deepen and strengthen inter-parliamentary relations between Kenya and China he emphasized on the need to brace environmental and international cooperation.
H.E. Hon. Wang Chen noted that the world is experiencing many challenges arising from the global pandemic thus the need for countries to stay together to build peace and prosperity in the face of the pandemic. He submitted that the Chinese Government has cooperated with Kenya on vaccination in order to combat Covid 19.
The Chinese delegation submitted that their Country has managed to control COVID-19 by implementing a very elaborate COVID-19 control strategy, including early detection, testing, cessation of movement, isolation and treatment. The delegation also attributed the success in Covid-19 containment to good will and great cooperation across the Chinese society. The two delegations agreed to strengthen their partnership in combating not only the current pandemic but also future pandemics.
Other Members of the Kenyan delegation to the forum pointed out that there is need for international cooperation in the global governance of public health, adding that the global community must as far as possible be prepared in the event another pandemic breaks out.
Further, the delegation emphasized the need for the Chinese Government to expand Kenyan export to the Chinese market and further set up agricultural firms in Kenya to enhance value addition of Kenya products and agricultural skills transfer to our farmers in order to address the huge trade imbalance between the two countries.
To give more incentive to the China-Kenya relationship and ensure sustainable development, the Chinese delegation undertook to offer more direct investments in infrastructure development, agricultural partnerships, E-commerce, manufacturing and to initiate Business to Business partnerships. This is in a bid to create employment among the Kenyan youth while offering skills transfer to the Kenyan population.
Moving forward, the two delegations agreed to deepen and maintain friendship through increased parliamentary exchanges under the auspices of the China-Kenya Friendship Group.
The Kenyan delegation to the virtual forum was led by Hon. Moses Cheboi, CBS, MP comprised of the Deputy Majority Whip, Hon. Maoka Maore, Hon. Shakeel Shabbir (Chair, Kenya-China Friendship Group), and Hon. Katoo ole Metito, MP (Chairperson, Departmental Committee on Defence and Foreign Relations).
Others were Hon. (Dr.) Robert Pukose, MP, Hon. Esther Passaris, MP, Hon. Beatrice Adagala, MP, Hon. Sophia Abdi Noor, MP, Hon. Martin Owino, MP, Hon.Richard Tongi, MP, Hon. Muriuki Njagagua, MP Hon. Sakwa Bunyasi, MP, Hon. Prof. Jacqueline Oduol, MP and Hon. Gideon Keter, MP