Kenya Neutral in U.S., China Economic Dominance Race, Uhuru Says

Kenya’s alignment with foreign nations is based on mutual benefit, not perceived economic dominance, President Uhuru Kenyatta has said.

Uhuru said Kenya and Africa are at the point of new awakening, for a revolution that will result in economic freedom.

“In this new paradigm, we cannot afford the luxury of the old language of East versus West. Kenya is aligned to neither; we are, firmly and irreversibly, aligned to progress,” he said.

He issued the remarks at the UN headquarters in Gigiri during the 6th Global Entrepreneurship Summit, which he is co-hosting with US President Barack Obama.

Kenya has been viewed as leaning toward the east for economic partnerships.

Infrastructural developments such as the Thika Superhighway and the Standard Gauge railway are heavily funded by Chinese institutions.

On Tuesday, the world’s largest bank, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, pledged to bring more money and investors to Kenya.

ICBC chairman Jiang Jianqing, top banks officials and members of the China Entrepreneurs Forum of Yabuli, said the country is making “impressive progress” and has a legal system that is “favorable for investors”.

Obama addressed the relationship between Kenya and China in an interview with the BBC during which he said the US is not opposed to the ties.

“We welcome Chinese aid into Africa. I think we think that’s a good thing. We don’t want to discourage it,” he said.

But he added; “As I’ve said before, what I also want to make sure is that trade is benefiting the ordinary Kenyan, Ethiopian and Guinean, not just a few elites.”

Affirming the government’s commitment to global partnerships, Uhuru added that the youth are in an ideal position to gain from mutual economic alignments .

“We should create an enabling environment that allows our young people to resolve the perennial problems that we face,” he said.

Uhuru called on delegates at the forum to take time to tour the country’s attractive destinations.

“You will discover that Kenya is a hotbed of vibrant culture, spectacular natural beauty, and infinite possibility,” he said.

His remark was a veiled reference to a CNN report describing Obama’s journey to Kenya as a trip into a terror hotbed.

The report drew harsh criticism from Kenyans online, with Interior CS Joseph Nkaissery calling for an apology from a news agency he said should be “civilised enough”.