Nairobi-Thika Superhighway: Wider Road, More Cooperation
It now takes only thirty minutes instead of two hours to reach downtown Nairobi from the place we are standing at. Friends from other diplomatic missions have confirmed to me that it is more convenient now to drive in Nairobi since the completion of this superhighway.
|Globe roundabout section of the Thika superhighway|
The Thika Superhighway has set up a brilliant example for the construction of superhighways in East Africa. It will go down in history of the Republic of Kenya.
Since the Thika Superhighway project commenced about three years ago, the three Chinese contractors, namely SinoHydro, China Wu Yi and Shengli, have faced so many challenges. We are happy to see that they finished their work in a professional way and have presented to the people of Kenya a beautiful and modern masterpiece.
I am sure many Kenyans, especially those living next to the superhighway, can recall that construction workers, both Kenyan and Chinese, involved in building this superhighway, worked day and night - and with speed - to complete the work within the shortest time possible. During the entire project time, the workers neither went to bars in the evening nor on holiday in Mombasa beach. Instead, they dedicated all their time and energy to this project.
We have from time to time heard rumours that the Chinese workers are prisoners simply because of the many hours they put in at work. That these kindhearted and hardworking people, just like you and me, have been defamed as prisoners makes me heart-broken. You must agree with me that they deserve our respect and gratitude. The Chinese ethic insists on diligence and low profile. Indeed, this focus on excellence and timely completion of tasks, in a certain sense, explains why China managed to make such tremendous progress within thirty years of opening up and reform.
After two years in Kenya, I have known that just like in China, Kenya has a very hard-working citizenry. I am glad to note that the common points in culture shared by our two peoples have led to a great partnership. That partnership has yielded great results besides strengthening the ever-growing China-Kenya friendship and cooperation. The Thika Superhighway is the fruit of this great commonness.
For the last 10 years, under the leadership of President Kibaki, Kenya has undergone tremendous transformation. While on the one hand the infrastructure has gone through a total revolution, the living standards of Kenyans have been improved significantly.
In the last decade, Chinese companies have been involved in numerous livelihood projects across Kenya. They have built roads, schools, hospitals, airports, dams, bridges and so on. However, in all those projects it is in infrastructure that China has stood head and shoulders above others. In this respect, the 50.4 kilometer-long, eight-lane super-highway is the ultimate emblem of China-Kenyan development partnership.
China's rapid development in the last three decades has been propelled by a dynamic infrastructure development. Our development experience has been tried and tested. Kenya's and indeed Africa's future will benefit a great deal from the on-going intercommunication. Only when this happens will Kenya and the rest of Africa boost their internal, regional and continental trade. And only then will the much-envisaged economic take-off be realized. I firmly believe that Kenya, as is the case with the rest of Africa, is on the right path to prosperity. During the Fifth Ministerial Conference of Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) which was held in Beijing last July, China's President, Hu Jintao, announced that China will provide 20 billion US dollars of credit line to African countries over the next three years. I am sure that the Kenyan people will benefit greatly from this new credit line.
In the distant eastern part of the world, the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) is now being held. In the Report of the 18th CPC National Congress, CPC General Secretary Hu Jintao emphasized that China will continue to hold high the banners of peace, development, cooperation and win-win, and unswervingly be devoted to safeguarding world peace and promoting common development. China will always be a dependable friend and sincere partner of the developing countries. China and Kenya share the same destiny and face the same challenges in the future. Therefore, only by working together will Chinese and Kenyan people create an even better tomorrow.
By H.E. Liu Guangyuan
Chinese Ambassador to Kenya.
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