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Kenyan president to meet Xi
August 12, 2013, 10:31 am

[Getty Images]

President Xi said last year that China will be a strategic partner of Kenya as it charts a new economic roadmap [Getty Images]

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta will pay a state visit to Beijing on Sunday after an invitation from Chinese President Xi Jinping, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Monday.

The strengthening of economic ties is set to be high on the agenda when the two presidents meet in China.

During a recent high-profile three nation African tour, US President Barack Obama skipped Kenya, despite ancestral connections to the African country, as President Kenyatta is facing an International Criminal Court (ICC) trial on charges of ‘orchestrating tribal violence’.

Kenya’s electoral body declared Kenyatta as the president of the Republic of Kenya in March this year after he won 6.17 million votes in a historic election, the first to be organised under Kenya’s 2010 constitution.

“We expect the international community [to] respect the sovereignty and democratic will of the people of Kenya,” Kenyatta said after the election.

“The Africa star is shining brightly, and the destiny of Africa is now in our hands,” he added.

China congratulated the new Kenyan president after he assumed office, in contrast to skeptical reactions from the United Kingdom and United States.

“China is willing to boost cooperation with the new Kenyan government in order to boost ties and benefit the people of both countries,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said previously.

British officials had warned before the election that it would have only “essential contact” with Kenyatta if he was voted into power.

“Choices have consequences,” warned US Secretary for African Affairs Johnnie Carson in reference to Kenyatta before Kenyans went to vote in the crucial elections.

East-Africa’s biggest economy recently discovered large reserves of oil and gas, and according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the country’s GDP will grow at 5.6 per cent in this year.

President Xi said last year that China will be a strategic partner of Kenya as it charts a new economic roadmap.

“China will consider taking part in the financing and construction of Kenya’s key developmental projects, and promote bilateral trade balance in various forms”, said the Chinese leader.

According to US-based AidData, road-building and other transport projects accounted for nearly half of China’s assistance to Kenya in the last decade.

The American research firm says China provided Kenya with a total of $1.4 billion in aid from 2001 to 2011.

The BRICS Post