Kenya and China have sealed six bilateral trade agreements and will also form a joint working group to address trade barriers between the two countries to reduce trade imbalances.
The deals were signed between China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his East African counterpart, Raychelle Omamo at the Sarova Whitesands Hotel, Mombasa, today where they met for a bilateral meeting between Kenyan and Chinese officials.
During the bilateral talks and the signing of these agreements, Wang Yi said the trade deals will increase Kenya’s exports to China and improve its economy.
Available data shows that Kenya’s total imports from China soared to US$336.717 million in March 2021 , compared to US$275.269 million a month earlier.
Kenya’s exports to China on the other hand stood at US$139.01 million in the whole of 2020, according to figures by the United Nations COMTRADE database on international trade.
Analysts have raised red flags that the wide trade deficit between East Africa’s biggest economy and China remains too big and thus measures must be taken to narrow it.
Available figures indicate that China is East African Nation’s largest bilateral lender and its biggest trading partner.
At the Thursday’s talks, the East African state sought to increase export of avocado and aquatic products to the Asian country while China said it intends to donate rice to Kenya as part of its humanitarian assistance.
“The six trade agreements signed this Thursday between Nairobi and Beijing will improve trade and deepen relations and collaboration between our two countries. Kenya seeks to increase agricultural exports to China to address trade imbalance between the two countries,” said Ms. Omamo.
The working group will address issues of tariff and Non-Trade Barriers between China and Kenya so as to increase intra-trade between the two nations.
The East African economic giant and China plan to share all information on Information Communication and Technology (ICT) to boost digital economy in Kenya, continue in the development of regional transport for economic hub on Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and create a market of Kenyan agricultural products.
Wang said China was not keen on driving Africa into debt but wants to eliminate poverty, underdevelopment and contribute to Africa’s pursuit for independent and sustainable development.
Wang added that China will donate one billion vaccines to Africa to assist it combat the Covid-19 pandemic.
“As a friend of Africa, China will never sit idle. The vaccines will be delivered in every corner of Africa where there is a need. We have announced another 10 million doses of vaccines to Kenya. In the face of various acts of power politics, China and Africa will defend international justice and fairness,” said Wang.