China-Kenya relations

Historical relationships

China-Kenya ties: A long history of beneficial relations

GUO CE, Economic & Commercial counselor at the CHINESE EMBASSY IN KENYA (Daily nation, may 26, 2017)

The People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Kenya have a longstanding relationship dating back to 1963. Diplomatic relations were established on December 14th, 1963. China was the fourth country that officially recognised the independence of Kenya. Bilateral relations started to become much closer with the arrival of the Daniel Arap Moi’s administration in 1978.

Current relations

China and Kenya are each other’s good friends, good brothers and good partners

Liu Xianfa, Chinese Ambassador to Kenya, September 28, 2017

Nowadays, China-Kenya relationships continue to be extremely fruitful. In May 2017, during the visit of President Uhuru Kenyatta at the Great Hall of the People, President Xi Jinping and President Uhuru Kenyatta agreed to upgrade China-Kenya relations to the Comprehensive Strategic Cooperative Partnership. As stressed by President Xi Jinping “China and Kenya should continue treating and developing bilateral relations from a strategic and long-term perspective, maintaining the high-level exchanges, and offering mutual support on issues related to respective core interests and major concerns” (source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China). Finally, it is worth mentioning that, as agreed during the recent visit of the Chairman of the National Committee of the People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) Wang Yang in Nairobi (June 2018), cooperation between China and Kenya will continue to forge ahead in the next few months.

Strong bilateral economic and trade cooperation

For some years now, China has been the main economic partner of Kenya.

largest trading partner
largest source country of contracted project companies
of the countries providing most concessional loans to Kenya
Source : GUO Ce, Economic & Commercial Counselor from the Chinese Embassy in Kenya, January 2016
of the bilateral debt are own by China (Kenya’s largest lender, march 2018)

Chinese increasingly consume Kenyan products :  Kenya’s exports to China have been multiplied by more than thirty over the past 15 years. Exports of services to China are also in excellent shape. For instance, the number of Chinese visiting Kenya has doubled in recent years (source: address of Guo Ce, Economic & Commercial Counselor from the Chinese Embassy in Kenya, January 2016)

Source : International Trade Centre

Chinese firms in Kenya

The number of Chinese companies operating in Kenya is increasingly growing over time. A recent World Bank report (“Deal or No Deal : Strictly Business for China in Kenya?”, 2016) highlights that, at the beginning of the year 2016, more than 400 Chinese firms were established in Kenya.

Chinese and Kenyans work together

Chinese firms rely heavily on the Kenya’s workforce : more than 42,000 Kenyans have been hired by a Chinese firm. Interestingly, 78 percent of full-time and 95 percent of part-time employees are Kenyans (source:  “Deal or No Deal : Strictly Business for China in Kenya?”, 2016). More broadly, the fact that Chinese companies employ more local workers than other foreign companies (360 per firm versus 147; source: “Deal or No Deal : Strictly Business for China in Kenya?”, 2016) demonstrates that Sino-Kenyans collaborations are efficient and sustainable.

Chinese investments in Kenya

According to the 2016 Foreign Investment Survey Report, (direct) Chinese investments accounted for 1.7% of the total stock of FDI in 2015. Given the recent surge in foreign investments coming from China, the share of Chinese investments is growing at a rapid pace.

Bilateral Representation