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Details of President Ruto's meeting with Chinese Ambassador to Kenya

The meeting comes days after US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin cautioned African leaders that rising involvement with China could destablilise the continent

President William Ruto met with the Chinese Ambassador to Kenya, Dr. Zhou Pingjian, at State House in Nairobi on December 20, 2022

President William Ruto met with the Chinese Ambassador to Kenya, Dr. Zhou Pingjian, at State House in Nairobi on December 20.

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The two leaders discussed the strengthening of bilateral relations and expanding trade between the two countries.

In a statement, State House said Kenya is interested in exploring various areas of partnership with China.

President Ruto acknowledged the positive impact of the relationship, stating that it has provided access to the Chinese market for Kenyan agricultural exports such as flowers, frozen avocados, hides, and skins.

He also added that China has played a crucial role in the development of infrastructure in Kenya.

Bilateral trade between China and Kenya has increased significantly since 2015, particularly due to the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway and the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport Corridor project.

From 2015 to 2019, the total trade value between the two countries was $18.20 billion, with 97% of this being imports from China to Kenya and only 3% being exports from Kenya to China.

President Ruto has expressed a desire to find and increase new markets for Kenyan products, and with China's population of over 1.4 billion people.

The meeting between Ruto and Pingjian took place days after Ruto returned from the US-African Leaders Summit in Washington. Both the US and China are competing to be Africa's preferred partner.

During the recently concluded summit, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin warned African leaders that the increasing involvement of China and Russia in the continent could potentially lead to destabilization.

Austin noted that China is rapidly expanding its economic influence in Africa, but pointed out that their actions are often not transparent, which could create problems in the future.

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